Michelle Dolan has built a new life for herself and her sons.

A domestic abuse victim who has developed a successful career and brought up four sons on her own is hoping that her story will inspire other women to believe in themselves.

Michelle Dolan, 46, was at rock bottom when she fled with her sons from their home, but now 17 years later, she is enjoying life as the deputy manager of a residential home for adults with mental health and learning disabilities at Clydach, near Swansea.

Having worked part-time whilst bringing up sons, now aged from 18 to 23, Michelle decided to take the bull by the horns five years ago when she knocked on the door at the Awelon Healthcare home in Clydach and asked for a job.

Staff gave her an application form, invited her for an interview and she secured a job as a support worker. The rest, as they say, is history, as Michelle has climbed the promotion ladder to become deputy manager, leading a team of 17 staff.

Her passion for her job, the home, staff colleagues and the people she cares for has encouraged Michelle to improve her skills and knowledge through the Welsh Government’s Apprenticeship Programme.

Despite being out of education for 20 years, Michelle achieved an Apprenticeship (Quality Credit Framework Level 3) in Health and Social Care. She was then encouraged by PeoplePlus assessor Yvonne Hammond to progress to a Higher Apprenticeship QCF Level 5 Advanced, continuing with support to complete her QCF Level 5 Registered Managers Award.

To be able to complete her framework, Michelle upskilled her English and Maths to ensure that she had all the skills she needed to progress. She has now become a Registered Care Manager and hopes to continue her learning journey with an Institute of Management Higher Apprenticeship.

“Soon after starting with Awelon Healthcare I knew I had found my niche and passion,” said Michelle. “It can be very challenging work at times but also very rewarding.

“It doesn’t seem like work to me because I enjoy my job so much. I love the interaction with the service users and watching how they progress with us.

“It was Yvonne’s enthusiasm and support that spurred me to do my Higher Apprenticeship and I am very proud of what I have achieved. Completing the qualifications has changed my life in so many ways.”

Michelle hopes her story will inspire other women who have escaped abusive relationships and has this advice for them: “Take each day as it comes, set yourself small goals and believe in yourself.

“When I left my ex-husband, I had lost all my confidence and self-esteem, which made me feel a useless person and mother. Now I am proud to have a job that I love, I have achieved qualifications and I am a role model to my sons who are all doing well.

“It feels like my old life was a dream because of how far I have come. I have shown that anything is possible if you believe in yourself.”

Yvonne praised Michelle’s commitment to continuous learning, her leadership skills and her dedication. “She is committed not only to her qualifications and personal development, but also to the organisation she works for, her colleagues and the people she supports.

“The wellbeing and quality of life of the people she supports are at the forefront of everything she does.”

Humie Webbe, Apprenticeships Strategic Equality and Diversity Lead at the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), congratulated Michelle on her inspirational learning journey.

“Michelle’s story shows what can be achieved through determination and appropriate support,” said Humie. “Our vision is to create a learning environment where everyone has the chance to go as far as their talent and hard work will allow, regardless of background.

“We want to ensure that apprenticeships are perceived to be for all and that barriers to participation are removed.”

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

#SkillsWorldLive Video: Why is it important to have diversity in apprenticeships?

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page