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Level 5 apprenticeship a stepping stone for early years sector

The introduction of a Level 5 Early Years Lead Practitioner apprenticeship for the first time represents a major boost for nurseries and practitioners alike, an industry training specialist believes.

The long-awaited Level 5 Early Years Lead Practitioner standard has been formally approved for delivery by the Institute for Apprenticeships & Technical Education.

The apprenticeship will offer the chance for employees working in roles such as a SENCO, room leader, senior practitioner and nursery nurse to continue their career development.

Karen Derbyshire, Head of Childcare and Education at one of the UK’s leading early years training providers Realise, said: “This is a huge boost for the sector, both in terms of settings such as nurseries, playgroups and pre-schools, and the employees themselves.

“Previously, once a practitioner had completed a Level 3 apprenticeship, there wasn’t an obvious route for people wanting to take their career to the next level while continuing in their role.

“That has all changed with the introduction of a Level 5 apprenticeship and it opens doors for a practitioner to develop themselves further including into a new role such as a deputy manager or manager of a setting – and even beyond.

“That development opportunity should also be crucial to helping early years settings to retain talented staff within the industry as there is further opportunity to progress their careers.”

The 18-month apprenticeship will receive 95 per cent government funding for SME’s and will aim to develop highly skilled professionals who take on an operational lead for the care, learning and development of all young children within the setting.

Amongst the topics to be covered during the apprenticeship are leadership and management, curriculum, health and wellbeing, health and safety, safeguarding and child development and theory.

Karen added: “We have been working on developing our curriculum for this Level 5 apprenticeship for almost a year in preparation for its approval so we will be ready to begin working with our first learners in September.

“We are planning a cohort approach so that the group which starts its Level 5 apprenticeship will remain together for the entire 18 months with the same assessor who will deliver regular webinars as well as one-to-one sessions.

“We have had strong experience of the End Point Assessment and standards approach over the last two-and-a-half years and we are excited to now deliver for our employers and apprentices at Level 5.

“We are confident we will be in a position to enrol up to 250 learners between September and the end of the year and we have already received many expressions of interest in the past few months in preparation for the approval of the Level 5 apprenticeship.”

For more information, visit our Level 5 Early Years Lead Practitioner course page.

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