National Apprenticeship Week takes place next week starting on February 5th and it is the perfect time to share positive and inspiring stories of some of our apprentices.
At Bright Horizons, we currently have apprentices in over 230 of our nurseries. Nearly 10% of our UK workforce are completing an apprenticeship. At present, we currently have just under 30 vacancies open for this month. During 2024, we are looking to recruit over 300 external apprentices and also ensure over 300 of our current employees have the opportunity to upskill on an apprenticeship programme. Early Years apprentices will work and study towards a Level 2 Early Years Practitioner or Level 3 Early Years Educator apprenticeship through work-based learning. Bright Horizons operate a rolling apprenticeship intake with on average 50 new apprenticeship starts per month.
Janine Leightley, HR Director at Bright Horizons, said:
“We are a nurturing organisation, and we bring the same commitment to our colleagues. We want to drive best practice in childcare, and developing future generations of well-trained childcare professionals is vital to that. We continue to see even more of our own employees get involved in our apprenticeships, as well as welcoming new faces to our Bright Horizons family. We are proud to say that we already have established improved levels of pay as well as well as other forms of support for our highly valued apprentices. We only use high-quality learning providers who deliver apprenticeship learning both online and face to face. Our approach is adapted to meet individual learning styles and differentiated to support everyone.”
Georgina, Nursery Practitioner, from Bright Horizons Quayside Day Nursery and Preschool:
“I began my apprenticeship at Bright Horizons because I was really keen to progress my skills and knowledge within childcare and education. I completed the programme in July 2023. The Early Years Level 3 programme has certainly given me more confidence as a nursery practitioner. I thrive on self-development and this apprenticeship has allowed me to flourish and provided me with opportunities to develop. I also liked the concept of studying remotely and how I was able to manage my workload for it alongside work commitments and my home life.
“I’m really proud that I was able to balance my work life with the apprenticeship workload and my home life. During my apprenticeship I was actually successful in landing a place on the England Majorettes team for the World Championships in Liverpool. I competed in this in August 2023 which meant I had a lot of training and preparation to do before competing. However, I was able to manage my apprenticeship workload to ensure I was completing tasks on time. I utilised time in the evenings to complete my studies and was often able to do more in-depth pieces on weekends when I wasn’t training. Although it was a very busy year, I had the most incredible experience at the Worlds and was successful with completing my apprenticeship too!
“During my apprenticeship, there was a challenging moment that really stood out to me. My trainer came to visit the setting and I had to create an activity to cover a topic on “Healthy Eating”. It was for a group of children in an older age group and room. I was nervous about leading on this activity as I wasn’t so familiar with all the children. After my trainer observed me deliver this activity, I was given some really positive feedback. I felt really proud that I was able to step up and pleased that I was able to deliver and lead a successful activity and step outside of my comfort zone. The whole experience gave me more confidence in my abilities.
“I am a Level 3 qualified member of the team and I really hope to continue my development at Bright Horizons. I hope my journey inspires others to join our wonderful profession and I look forward to supporting practitioners on their journeys too.”
Jessica, Room Leader at Bright Horizons Haslemere Day Nursery and Preschool
“I had a complete career change after the COVID pandemic, I wanted to find a new career path that I loved and felt passionate about. My Early Years Educator level 3 apprenticeship helped me to do this and led to an exciting new role as the Room Leader at Bright Horizons Haslemere Day Nursery and Preschool.
“When I was offered the job at Bright Horizons, I was delighted to learn that I could complete the apprenticeship whilst working, and it would all be funded by the organisation. It seemed too great an opportunity to miss. I felt that completing this course, along with actual work experience, would set me on the right path and give me the knowledge I needed to become a successful Early Years Practitioner.
“After a few months at the nursery, I soon realised that I had found just that. I enjoyed learning more about child development and how to assess learning. I knew that I wanted to expand on my knowledge and skills to become the best practitioner I could be and support the children as best as I can. My confidence has really grown since applying the valuable skills I’ve learnt in the nursery.
“Since qualifying I have accepted a position as Room Leader in the preschool room. I am lucky enough to now support other practitioners and apprentices on their journey. Sharing the skills and pedagogical knowledge I developed during my apprenticeship. Would I recommend doing an apprenticeship? Yes of course I would, you never know where it might lead you!”
Cruz, aged 17, Level 3 Early Years Educator apprentice at Bright Horizons West Dulwich Day Nursery and Preschool:
“I have always been surrounded by family members who are in the childcare industry, so I would say my decision to pursue a career in a nursery has been largely influenced by them. Both my sisters work in a nursery, and they always told me that because I’m a hardworking, courageous, and open person, a career in early years would be an amazing experience for me.
“When I informed my family that I was interested in an apprenticeship at Bright Horizons, they were extremely supportive. My older sister is a nursery manager, and she helped me to understand the value of helping children build relationships with both male and female practitioners, giving me an understanding of how to navigate the different dynamics.
“I am really enjoying my apprenticeship so far; I have learned so much already, and the team is extremely helpful. In the future, once I gain enough experience, I want to progress in my career working in early years education, from room leader to third in charge, deputy manager, and even a manager. My advice for any man considering an early years apprenticeship is to genuinely go for it. Don’t be afraid of the silly narrative of “it’s not a man’s job”. Try it out, don’t be too comfortable just being ‘normal’, follow your heart, push the boat out, and enjoy the experience.”
Joan, Level 3 Early Years Educator apprentice at Bright Horizons Beckenham Day Nursery and Preschool
“I always had a lot going on at home which meant I couldn’t spend time focusing on my career. I was working a full-time role in administration whilst caring for my daughter. Before the apprenticeship, I had a job and 6 years of experience in childcare but no qualification. It was my manager that suggested I apply to an apprenticeship scheme. Doing an apprenticeship has meant I can continue to work as I learn, providing the work life balance I need.
“Before I had children I didn’t even think about childcare as a career choice. Then when I had my daughter that changed. I went to an open evening at Bright Horizons which inspired me to follow my passion. I soon after joined their apprenticeship scheme. I started working as bank staff and then as a permanent member of staff. Now that I am doing the apprenticeship, I’m closer to fulfilling my goal in becoming a qualified Early Years Practitioner.
“I have gained a depth of knowledge that I didn’t have before. I understand more about child development and legislation around childcare and education. It takes commitment and hard work but I have felt inspired as I continue my career in early years education through the apprenticeship.
“I have really enjoyed doing the apprenticeship. It has been incredibly rewarding and is a great opportunity to gain the knowledge to support your practice and deepen your understanding of the experiences you are having. My journey has inspired me to work towards becoming the nursery SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) and a Room Leader. This apprenticeship has given me focus and it feels so good to be learning again.”
More details about apprenticeships at Bright Horizons can be found on our website