Caring Carmalita from St Helens wins care apprentice of the year award

Carmalita Hardman (left) and Helen Nellist, deputy principal and deputy chief executive officer, Cheshire College
Carmalita Hardman (left) and Helen Nellist, deputy principal and deputy chief executive officer, Cheshire College

A Toll Bar support worker has been named care apprentice of the year.


Carmalita Hardman has worked at Greengate House, a residential care home in Nutgrove for two years.

She was awarded the accolade by Cheshire College-South & West, where Carmalita is studying for an NVQ level 2 in care.

Prior to becoming a support worker, Carmalita, 58, worked for over 30 years as a professional chef.

She said: "A few years ago, my mum was ill and I left work to become her carer. I didn't want to return to my old line of work after that and a friend suggested I give care work a try.

"I loved it right from the start and really feel I make a difference. My favourite part is encouraging the people I care for to get out and about and enjoy themselves."

Caroline Anders is the accommodation manager at Greengate House, which is managed by adult health and social care charity Making Space.

She said: "Lita will always go that extra mile to provide the correct support to residents and nothing is ever too much trouble.

"Lita is very thorough within the workplace and always puts residents' choices and preferences first. Lita is a valued staff member at Greengate House and we are all very proud of her."

Carmalita was presented her award by Helen Nellist, deputy principal and deputy chief executive officer and Karen Roberts, assistant principal apprenticeships and employer engagement, at a gala dinner at the College's Ellesmere Port campus in Cheshire.

Karen said: “Carmalita is an exceptional learner. After not being in education for over forty years, Carmalita has thrown herself into studying. She is enthusiastic, has a thorough approach to learning and responds well to feedback from her peers and tutors.

"Alongside her apprenticeship, she is also working towards gaining her English and maths qualifications, which has improved her confidence tremendously. Carmalita has an impeccable work ethic and is extremely reliable. A true role model to us all.”

This is the 13th year the college has hosted the annual awards and it is currently supporting over 1,600 apprentices.