Building the future as an Early Years Educator Apprentice

Natalie Cunningham is a Childcare Apprentice at Mommabears Day Nursery in Birmingham. She is currently undertaking a Level 3 Early Years Educator Apprenticeship with Realise. 

Later today, Natalie will be attending the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Apprenticeships through a virtual conference, where parliamentarians will get the opportunity to engage directly with apprentices representing a variety of different industries. 

Apprentices will explain their personal experiences of apprenticeships and their thoughts on how we can ensure apprenticeships are at the forefront of the UK’s recovery from the pandemic.  

We caught up with Natalie ahead of the meeting to hear about her experience as a Childcare Apprentice, Natalie said:

 “I enrolled on to my Early Years Educator Apprenticeship with Realise in October 2019 and faced many obstacles due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite this, I still worked extremely hard to earn my qualification and the quality of my course was not affected.  

Doing this apprenticeship shows you the difference between a good Early Years Educator and an outstanding Early Years Educator. I am evidence of this statement. 

When I first started both myself and my employers knew I would make a great Early Years Educator as I have four children myself and understood the basic needs of caring for children. 

However, this course has allowed me to become outstanding. I have come so much further than I ever thought I would.  

My apprenticeship has been pivotal in developing my knowledge and has given me a greater understanding of using the correct terminology, supported by the Realise webinars and the resources my assessor has sent me.  

Paperwork plays a vital part in safeguarding children as it is your evidence of risk assessments, accidents, and any incidents. I had the opportunity to learn all about this through my apprenticeship.

The passion I have for my job is evident from the way I work every day. I bring enthusiasm and energy to activities I plan, the objective and learning goal I aim to meet, and my adaptions to meet the needs of all my children in my room because every child matters. I want all my children to experience all the activities I plan and prepare.   

The apprenticeship taught me about communication. I have built great relationships with families and carers to ensure I can meet all my children’s requirements. I am proud of this and pride myself on clear verbal and written daily feedback to each carer – this is vital for each child and their family.   

I can now evaluate my work effectively. My learning journal has supported my growth and journey on Realise’s exceptional course.  

Working with children is challenging, fun, and extremely rewarding. All you need is passion, and the rest will follow. 

I am so proud of what I have achieved so far and will continue to achieve in my career within the early years sector.” 

We can’t wait to see what Natalie does next!

For more information on becoming or hiring an Early Years Educator Apprentice, head to the childcare section of our website.

Our top 10 reasons why you should do an apprenticeship

Whether you have just finished school or are in an established career, taking the next step and starting an apprenticeship can feel daunting. However, by undertaking an apprenticeship you can develop your skills, boost your CV and increase your earning potential, all...

How do I support employers new to the apprenticeship service?

Our Quality and Compliance Director, Lesley Rimmington, has shared eight top tips on how to support employers who are new to the apprenticeship service, for the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). Since 1 April, all new apprenticeships are managed and funded...

Building a hairdressing career with an apprenticeship

Emma Peel from Nottinghamshire chose the apprenticeship route to build her bright career in hairdressing. During National Apprenticeship Week 2021, we spoke to Emma to find out why she preferred an apprenticeship over college and why she’s never looked back. Here's...