Veteran apprentice overcomes blindness to be up for regional award

A 49-year-old blind man is in the running to become apprentice of the year at a regional awards recognising the achievements of trainees.

Mark Abel from Worcester is up for the gong at the Health Education West Midlands Apprenticeship Recognition Awards 2016, for his outstanding contribution to his job as an admin assistant at Worcester Health and Care NHS Trust.

Having worked at the hospital previously as a healthcare assistant in the psychiatric intensive care unit, Mark was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2011, and complications later led to the loss of his sight.

Immense achievement

After a year-long break from work, he enrolled on the apprenticeship programme and returned to the Trust in 2014. Having achieved an NVQ Level 2 in business and administration in September, Mark was put forward for the awards by his colleagues, and has been shortlisted as a finalist.

The awards ceremony, taking place next month, reward apprentices and employers in the West Midlands who show commitment, contribution and success.

Mark told the Worcester News: “I feel immensely proud of my achievement despite my disability and the hurdles I have overcome to get through the apprenticeship, which was only made possible by the help and support of my line manager Brian Walker, Blind Veterans UK and my patient and helpful tutor Manny Jaspal from Qube Learning.”

Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust has also been shortlisted in the Employer of the Year category for the support it provides apprentices throughout their placements.