By Karen Derbyshire, Head of Sector for Childcare & Education at Interserve Learning & Employment.
After much anticipation the Early Years Educator Apprenticeship Standard has now been launched, introducing professional qualifications for people embarking on a career in the sector.
I’ve always had a real passion for working with children and have done so myself since first getting the taste for it while on work experience in secondary school. Historically I think the sector struggled to shake off the totally unfounded stigma as being the career choice of those who had failed to get the qualifications required to gain employment elsewhere. I felt that myself while working my way up through roles in childcare, and I also knew how wrong that view was because it’s a tough, demanding job – but one that is also incredibly rewarding. Advances made over the last decade have done much to banish this unfair reputation, and I believe the new Early Years Educator (EYE) Apprenticeship Standard helps take that a stage further.
I secured a role with Interserve Learning & Employment (ILE) four-years-ago. I always relished the opportunity to combine doing the job with developing my understanding of childcare theory and I am so excited to see this approach endorsed by the standard. Understanding how children learn, how to manage behaviour and the crucial role early years professionals have in supporting development is fascinating. At ILE we are really driven to do the best we can because the job we have – as a leading apprenticeship organisation – in helping to train the next generation of EYE educators is a tremendous responsibility.
We invested a lot of resources to ensure our training programme for the new standard EYE apprenticeships delivers a solid platform to support our apprentices in early childcare and education. Our journey to create the perfect apprenticeship started in August 2018, when the standard was first approved. We consulted with industry experts to agree what core subjects needed to be delivered, what employers required, what apprentices needed to know and how learning would progress. We began by looking at the type of learner we were aiming for on completion: highly trained, professional early years educators; and then tested our model with some of our existing employers to ensure that on finishing the programme their apprentices would be well-rounded, knowledgeable and extremely experienced Early Years Educators.
We focused on the teaching and learning aspect of the programme to support learners through to end-point assessment. We engaged with end-point assessment organisations (EPAO) to help employers understand the benefits of each one and to help them decide which EPAO to choose for their apprentice.
The EYE apprenticeship offers several advantages for people wanting to start a career in childcare or education. From day one it means working alongside experienced staff and undertaking key-worker responsibilities under the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework and being treated as a member of a team.
Our programme runs over 17 months and includes nine webinars with our specialists and external experts, visits to alternative provision, paediatric first aid and food hygiene. In addition, apprentices will have monthly face-to-face visits with their trainer assessors and complete a longitudinal study which develops the learner’s skills. The programme also covers subjects including: in-depth knowledge of the EYFS, linking theory to practice, equality and diversity, safeguarding, H&S and transitions.
Apprentices benefit from a starter pack to support their study and actively embed the skills, knowledge and behaviours expected within the standard. We have also included e-learning modules which support learners remotely in between sessions and enhances the programme by providing additional content in an easily accessible format.
Employers also benefit from our detailed delivery model and guidance to support them with providing the 20 per cent off-the-job training required as part of the apprenticeship.
Apprentices will successfully complete a Level 3 Early Years Educator qualification – details of which can be found here.
We are excited to be able to deliver the new standard. Our trainer assessors are equally keen to impart their knowledge and skills to their future learners.
Becoming an apprentice in the childcare and education sector is a truly rewarding choice. If you have what it takes to care, nurture and have great fun with children – they will help you learn too. Interserve’s work-based course allows you to earn while you learn. You’ll train within a real childcare environment ensuring you learn the ropes and achieve a nationally recognised qualification.
For more information contact Hello@Interserve.com
To find out more about Interserve’s childcare apprenticeships or to apply, visit the Childcare & Education page here.