Q & A Session – Early Years Apprenticeships at Grandir UK

27 May 2024

Q & A Session – Early Years Apprenticeships at Grandir UK

Tara qualified in early 2024 – she is 50 years old! The Grandir UK team is so proud of her achievements. We spoke to Tara about working in a day nursery, and gaining her qualification in early years.

Early years apprentice

How Long Have You Worked in Early Years?

I started working in a day nursery at 17 years old as an unqualified member of staff, which led to fantastic opportunities for apprenticeships in the field. I’ve been in Early Years for 33 years in total.

Why did you wait so long before deciding to study for your qualification?

Initially, I was going to sign up at college when I left school but I decided that wasn’t for me. I had fairly low self-esteem and felt uncomfortable pursuing further education, so I left it. I then had my children and I still wanted to become qualified but at that time there were no opportunities available to me. There are various levels of childcare apprenticeships available, such as Level 2 – Early Years Practitioner, Level 3 – Teaching Assistant, Level 3 – Early Years Educator, Level 4 – School Business Professional, Level 4 – Children, Young People and Families Practitioner, Level 5 – Early Years Lead Practitioner, and Level 5 – Children, Young People and Families Manager, which provide valuable hands-on experience and recognized credentials. I did find an online L2 course which I completed only to find out it was not full and relevant which then made me feel demotivated.

What made you decide to study for a qualification?

When I started working at Kiddi Caru Grange Park I was surrounded by a wonderful supportive team who encouraged me to go for it. They encouraged me to become an early years apprentice and enrol in a childcare apprenticeship that provided both practical experience and dedicated study time. With the help of the support office also, I was able to enrol onto a programme that suited my circumstances and supported my learning journey.

What were the biggest challenges you faced when undertaking the childcare apprenticeship and how did you overcome them?

For me, being a Mum, working and studying was really hard. The apprenticeship allowed me to gain hands-on experience while balancing my responsibilities as a Mum. I did feel guilty that I wasn’t spending enough time with my youngest son. However, I was able to find a way around this by getting him to do his homework alongside me studying. We would sit at the same table and this worked really well as we encouraged each other and supported our mutual development!

What are your top tips for anyone considering an apprenticeship at a later stage in life to gain hands on experience?

I think when you are balancing home life with working and studying, especially in apprenticeships, you need to make sure you are ultra-organized. You need to allocate time for studying and be strict with yourself to make sure you get it done. Allocating time for studying and planning learning activities is crucial to stay on track. You also need to be aware that ‘life’ will throw you curveballs that will get in the way but it’s important to remember that you have a team around you to help you through. You can lean into the support from your colleagues, training provider, and company as they want you to succeed as much as you do.

What are your plans for the future?

I haven’t got any major plans, I feel so incredibly proud and also a sense of relief that after 33 years in early years I have finally achieved my qualification. I intend to use the knowledge I have gained through studying with my experience to shape the lives of each child I work with, I care about the adults they will become and I believe the work we do in early years is key to this.

I hope to inspire future early years apprentices to pursue their qualifications and make a difference in the field.

Tara passed her L3 qualification with ‘Distinction’

We are so proud of Tara and all her achievements, she is proof that it is never too late to accomplish what you put your mind to. From all of us at Grandir UK – well done!

Childcare apprenticeships

Click here if you would like to find out more about apprenticeships in childcare.

A career in childcare

If you love working with children and are interested in a career in childcare, explore our available positions here.