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Jo Sims: Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council

Jo Sims, Service Manager for Young People and Partnerships at Blaenau Gwent CBC, embodies exceptional leadership that transcends titles and positions. Jo's leadership flourishes at all levels. Locally, she chairs the Raising Aspirations Group and the Post-16 Partnership Board, spearheading initiatives that elevate young people's voices and ensure their needs are met. Regionally, she plays a pivotal role in shaping Youth Work policy through her involvement in key groups like the Youth Work Strategy Implementation Board and the Principal Youth Officers Group. Her influence extends nationally as well, with her active participation in the Young Person's Guarantee and ETS Wales initiatives.

A young person who has benefited from Jo's guidance, describes her as an empowering leader who fosters individual problem-solving skills and creates a genuine, supportive environment. Another young person, echoes this, praising Jo's approachability and the trust she instils in her team. He sees himself as a testament to the positive outcomes Jo's leadership fosters, having transitioned from a young person using the service to a volunteer, university student, and now a paid staff member.

The judging panel recognised her as an inspirational leader who goes above and beyond. They commended her ability to excel in strategic roles while staying grounded in the realities faced by young people.