Subscribe to our newsletter

How early years apprenticeships can develop inspired and loyal educators

February 6, 2023
3 minute read

Apprenticeships in early years are not new and are open to all with no limit on age. Here, we’ll consider the relevance of apprenticeships as the landscape continues to change for the sector.

An apprenticeship in early years – whether at Level 2 or Level 3 – includes a legislated, mandated qualification required in legislation to work in ratio with babies and young children.  The rigour of an apprenticeship is not only dependent on completing the required standards and having the knowledge, skills, and behaviours to do the job well through the qualification, but is also currently subject to objective, robust and challenging end-point assessment (EPA). The involvement of employers to set, review and approve the standards for employment is at the core of the programme.

The idea of earning and learning is attractive, but taking on an apprenticeship role in early years is much more than that and offers a theory to practice approach.  The quality of an apprenticeship is a joint effort, meaning that there are roles for everyone involved in making the apprenticeship the best experience possible.  I believe that a lot of this approach lies in mentoring; the employer, line manager, qualified colleagues and the training provider are supporting the apprentice in becoming the best they can be, through role modelling what best practice looks like and leading the way for improving quality. 

This starting point will of course filter down to the children that the apprentice is working with too.  It also opens opportunities to current staff who are eager to share their knowledge and experiences in a positive manner.

Growth within an apprenticeship may be clear for the student in the fact that they are learning new skills and gaining experience along the way – but have you also considered the benefits to everyone else included in the journey?  Apprentices bring new skills and fresh eyes to a setting, which can be beneficial to the families and children as well as bringing new energy to a team.  They are acquiring the most recent and pertinent knowledge about early years and childcare, which they can then impart to the team, keeping everyone engaged and inspired. 

Treating apprentices with respect and nurturing them as part of the whole team means that right from the start, they will feel a sense of belonging – the high morale that is then activated will be carried into the role, often creating loyal educators.  We must ensure that we invest in mentoring our apprentices and support them in their career journey. 

Stacy Mann

Early Years and Childcare Subject Specialist at NCFE

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram