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BLOG: An apprenticeship success story

National Apprenticeship week brings together businesses and apprentices across the country to shine a light on the positive impact that apprenticeships make to individuals, businesses and the wider economy The theme for National Apprenticeship Week 2024 is “Skills for Life”. Encouraging everyone to consider how apprenticeships can help individuals to develop the skills and knowledge required for a rewarding career, and employers to develop a workforce with future ready skills.   

An apprenticeship is a paid job which offers hands-on work experience alongside off-the-job training. Childminders and Group- settings are using apprenticeship schemes to grow their business and help support and nurture the next generation of early years provide 

We spoke to Priya and Jack about how the apprenticeship scheme has worked for them. 

Priya Kanabar 

Priya is an Ofsted graded ‘Outstanding’ childminder based in London. She has been childminding for 10 years and her dedication to the sector shines through in her mentoring work and promotion of her profession and peers. Priya currently employs an apprentice named Jack under the apprenticeship scheme and revels in being able to mentor other rising stars in the sector.  

Q: You’ve previously employed Childminding Assistants, what made you decide to go down the apprenticeship route? 

Firstly, it made financial sense to go down the apprenticeship route. With recruitment being so difficult in our sector, especially for Childminders employing assistants, an apprenticeship allows me to keep my business sustainable whilst also knowing that the person I’m taking on is enthusiastic and committed to a career in childcare. It was a different experience for me and I saw it an opportunity for me to benefit from being a mentor; having the opportunity to train someone using my unique teaching style, and my business ethos.  

Q: What apprenticeship scheme did you use and how did you recruit Jack? 

I met the Parenta team at the Early Education and Childcare EXPO. They sent me their top candidates, and from that I asked a few  to come for an interview and a trial. 

Q: What qualities and support has Jack brought to your childcare business?  

Jack being here has allowed me to increase the number of places I offer which in turn means greater income. He’s a great person to do planning with and offer me a fresh perspective on creative projects. Jack brings enthusiasm, reliability and commitment and commitment to the role! 

Q: How do you feel about mentoring the next gen of childcare providers? Did you have any hesitations to begin with?  

My only hesitation was that it might be too much work to train them as they would have no experience or prior knowledge. Also, that they would not be as proactive at the beginning. I was proven wrong.  I feel extremely empowered and full of pride to know I am teaching the highest of standards to him. In offering him extensive support and encouragement I am preparing him for a future career in the early years. 

Jack

  Q: How long have you been doing this apprenticeship, how long do you have left and what qualifications will   you hold at the end? 

I have been doing the level 2 diploma for the early years' practitioner for 9 months now and there’s 3 months left! 

Q: What made you decide to go down the apprenticeship route and why childcare? 

I chose to be an apprentice because it is hard to get into childcare without the right qualifications or experience. The apprenticeship gives you all the knowledge and experience you need to build a career in childcare. When I was growing up, people always said I was good at looking after the younger children and I didn’t know what I wanted to do it as a profession. It is something I have always enjoyed, which is the reason why I chose to pursue it. 

Q: What have you learnt through your apprenticeship and time working with Priya so far? 

I have learnt to assess a child’s development and identify their next steps from doing so. As well as this, creating challenging but playful activities that will help support their learning.  I know how key people can be important in throughout a child’s early years; helping to create positive relationships based on that one.  I also now know blended paediatric first aid in which you learn the difference between techniques on adults and children. 

Q: What’s next after your apprenticeship and what would you ideally like to be doing in 5 years time? 

After my apprenticeship I will take a break before I do my level 3 early years qualification. Life has taught me to plan a couple of steps at a time because of the unexpected twists it throws at you; you cannot plan too far ahead. There is too much pressure and anxiety to try and reach a goal and then create self- doubt if you cannot. 

Priya and Jack

More apprenticeship information 

If you're planning to take on an assistant, you'll need to register with HMRC as an employer, as any assistants must be on your payroll. Your apprentice will need to be paid the minimum national wage for apprentices, too. You must also hold Employer's Liability Insurance. 

Whether you live in England or Wales an apprentice must be paid a minimum of £5.38 per hour and be employed for a minimum of 30 hours per week (excluding the Progress for Success programme in Wales).   

This includes the mandatory 20 per cent off-the-job training within these paid working hours. 40 hours per week is the maximum number of working hours for those under eighteen.  This rises to a maximum of 48 hours for those over the age of eighteen. 

Members can find out more about apprenticeship schemes in both England and Wales and the support available to you here. 

#Signposts 

National Apprenticeship Week 

Government Apprenticeship website 

The Childcare Company 

Parenta 

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