I started at Tops Day Nurseries as a volunteer before completing my Level 1 in Childcare with Aspire Training Team. I decided to become an apprentice so I could earn and learn at the same time. I completed my Level 1 within a year and began my Level 2 Children and Young People’s Workforce qualification straight after. Half way through I was employed by the nursery and given my own key child; a quick progression for a Level 2 apprentice. I am now working through my Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Workforce while employed as a Level 2 Practitioner in Pre-School.
I have always known I wanted to work in childcare and that college or university wasn’t right for me. At the time the only route was to become a volunteer, so when the apprenticeship opportunity arose a year later, I jumped at the chance. I prefer to develop my knowledge through hands on work, an apprenticeship was the perfect solution to my learning style.
Being an apprentice in a working environment has helped me to improve my confidence and maturity by being given responsibility quickly. Half way through my Level 2 qualification, at 17 years old I was given 10 key children and I now have 16 key children, which is higher than the average for apprentices.
The amount of trust that Tops has instilled in me has helped with my ambition to continue to grow as an apprentice. My greatest achievement to date would be my role as Garden representative as this was a position that was given to me ahead of my more senior colleagues, I’m not seen as ‘just an apprentice’.
My childcare qualifications have improved my knowledge with regards to Early Years Foundation Stage, and doing so through hands on work is very rewarding. I recently led the Pre-School group to discuss our latest planning board, ensuring that we stay on track with observations and everything we do is linked with EYFS. I have fantastic role models within the nursery who have all encouraged my development and a brilliant assessor who is always there to help with any queries.
I am keen to support my fellow colleagues and apprentices; those undertaking their Level 1 asked me to attend their Functional Skills assessment to support, and I recently attended a Characteristics of Effective Learning workshop; the only apprentice invited amongst Room Managers.
I am extremely ambitious; I aim to have completed my Level 3, 4 and 5 qualifications by 2020, when I hope to be working as a Room Manager.
I am glad I decided to do an apprenticeship, I feel I have learnt so much more that what I would have at college due to the practicality of the role. I would recommend an apprenticeship to anyone, it really is worthwhile!