A former teacher-turned-care-assistant is in the running for national honours after being shortlisted for The Great British Care Awards.
Nichola Horn, from Blackfell, Washington, is in the running for the Care Newcomer Award after being nominated by colleagues at Donwell House Care Home on Wellgarth Road, Washington.
The finals are being held in Birmingham at the ICC today, which will see her go up against care professionals from across the country for the sought-after accolade.
The 46-year-old had been a primary school teacher for 17 years, but decided to pursue a career she had always been passionate about, joining the team at Donwell House Care Home last year.
The mum-of-two’s dedication to her job shined through and inspired staff to nominate her for the Care Newcomer Award in the North East Care Awards - the regional heat of the national awards - last year.
Nichola won the title and has now been shortlisted for the national accolade along with other care assistants from across the country.
And she couldn’t be prouder of her achievement, saying: “I am really excited.
“Colleagues said they had put me forward because I seemed to fit in straight away and just got on with the job.
“I was one of seven people from homes in the region nominated for the North East award and found out just before Christmas that I had won.
“I was in total shock.
“I am really proud of myself as nothing like this has ever happened to me before and my family are all so proud of me.”
In her role Nichola cares for people of all ages who have a variety of needs, a job she says is immensely rewarding. What’s more, she has even been able to train on the job.
She added: “I like to think that I am making a difference to people’s lives.
“I love doing the job and coming to work every day.”
Nicola Brooks, home manager at Donwell House Care Home, said: “Nichola has really been an asset to the team.
“We are all very proud of Nichola and wish her luck for Friday.”