A male nursery practitioner from Nottingham has revealed how studying towards apprenticeship success has helped him turn his life around and overcome anxiety, addiction and self-doubt.
To mark National Apprenticeship Week, Thomas Shaw has opened up on the personal battles he has faced in his quest to launch a career in the early years sector.
Thomas, aged 21 and from Clifton, is currently a nursery practitioner at Ryan House Day Nursery, part of Grandir UK, and is on course to be promoted to room leader when he completes his Level 3 Early Years Educator Apprenticeship with one of the leading UK training providers, Realise.
With the total workforce in the early years sector made up of just 2% males, Thomas is proud to be flying the flag for men working in nurseries but admits he has overcome challenges to reach his current position.
He said: “When I started out in my Level 2 apprenticeship, it was tough going and I fell behind in my work due to addiction issues I had at the time.
“I was also struggling with anxieties and self-doubt about whether I actually belonged in the early years sector as a male.
“But, with the help of my managers at the nursery and tutors at Realise, I got right back on track and the apprenticeships have really helped turn my life around.
“Completing Level 2 was a fantastic achievement for me and I’m due to finish my Level 3 apprenticeship next month and about eight weeks early than anticipated.”
After first starting studying for his apprenticeship in August 2021, Thomas is thrilled with the progress he has made.
“I love my job and couldn’t be happier forging a career in early years,” he added.
“Being a man working in nurseries is a fantastic experience and the children love having that balance of genders.
“Some of them won’t have a male role model in their life so they look up to you and it means a lot that I can potentially make a huge difference to their lives at such a young age.
“I’m really proud of the progress I’ve made and the motivation of being successful in apprenticeships and working towards saving to move into a property with my girlfriend are really driving my career forward.”