Laura Duca – National Apprenticeship Week Learning Journey

During National Apprenticeship Week 2021, Aspire Training Team asked learners how they have started to “Build the future.” Whilst we received a number of great applications, there were two learners highlighted by the judges that particularly stood out.  

It was a very close call between the top two, and we are pleased to announce Laura to be our first runner up! Congratulations Laura! Take a look at Laura’s learning journey in her own words below… 


Laura said “Ever since I was a child, I was passionate about looking after younger children, caring for them and make them smile.

As I grew up, I had the opportunity to get my first job during the school holiday which was to look after a little boy. That experience taught me many lovely things about children and how to care for them. I had to stop that job as I had to return back to school. I was really sad knowing that I am not going to see the little boy with who I built such a lovely and positive relationship.

After I finished high school, I decided to go visit my older sister who lived in United Kingdom. Not long after, I started a job in a food factory where everything was new to me.

At first, I really struggled to speak the language and I knew that I have to do something about it. After many searches, I found a school where I was able to obtain my Level 2 Functional Skills in English and Maths. I was so proud of myself for my achievement as when I first came here, I barely put two words together in English.

Working for three years in a food factory, I felt that I was doing no improvements and I was just staying at the same educational level. I still wanted to improve my spoken English and I knew that if I were to stay longer in the factory, that would have been impossible as most of the people I knew and I talked to were different nationality and spoke basic English. I have always been an ambitious person who wanted to learn and strive for more. So, I decided to leave that job and try something different.

Meanwhile, one of my friends told me about her doing an apprenticeship in childcare and how I should try too as she knew how much I loved looking after children and care for them. I was so happy when she told me about it, but I told her that I do not think someone is going to accept me because of my level of spoken English. She encouraged me and she told me that I should still have a go.

Then, I encouraged myself too and I applied at some settings who were taken apprenticeships. After few days, I had my first interview .  I was so stressed that they are not going to accept me. At the end of the day, when I received the email from the manager who said that they are so happy with me and they wanted me in their team, I could not believe my eyes whilst I was reading.

And here it starts my learning journey! I started my childcare Level 2 apprenticeship with Aspire Training Team, and I did my best to keep up with everything, in practice while working with children and studying at home. During my Level 2 apprenticeship I achieved my Level 1 ICT Certificate.

There were times when I was still worrying about my spoken English, thinking that it might not be good enough, although everyone in the setting supported and encouraged me. I remember there was one time when we had staff meeting and everyone had to choose the employer of the month, explaining the reason why they did it. When I heard my name for the employer of the month, I completely burst into tears. I could not believe that they would choose me. When they said some of the reasons why they chose me, it definitely built my confidence and self- esteem.

After a year, I completed my Level 2 Apprenticeship EYE, and then I chose to start straight away my Level 3 apprenticeship as I wanted to learn more and build my education and future. Doing my Level 3 apprenticeship helped me to gain a deeper understanding and knowledge of children, I was given the responsibility by my manager of being a key worker with 5 babies – which I felt priviledged  and extremely proud of to be entrusted with this – my role as an early years practitioner and how to support and provide the best start in life for children. Knowing that I am at the end point of completing my Level 3 apprenticeship earlier than I was supposed too helps me to believe in myself more as well as in my abilities and my desire for learning.

At the moment I am an early years practitioner working with babies, providing a safe environment and care for them as well as planning play opportunities and activities to support their learning and development.

I would personally say that I have the perfect job as I love what I am doing every day! There are moments when I think, and I still cannot believe where I am and what I achieved. It was not an easy journey, but it was well worth it. I would recommend doing an apprenticeship to others as it is a great way to learn and build your future!”


Posted in: National Apprenticeship Week