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Busy Bees Nurseries Ltd, the largest nursery chain in the country, has been skilling up more of its staff in a drive to offer the best in quality childcare.
Thirty-six nursery staff from Busy Bees nurseries in the Hertfordshire area have graduated from its in-house training programme, with twelve achieving the Level 2 Apprenticeship in Children and Young People’s Workforce, eleven achieving the Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship in Children and Young People’s Workforce, and thirteen achieving the Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship in Management.
Special awards were also presented to five staff. Level 3 early years educator, Gemma Flack, received the award for ‘Motivation and Effort’ and assistant Manager, Amanda Zienkowicz, both from Busy Bees Mardley Hill received the ‘Outstanding Achievement’ award. Senior room manager Aimee Berry-Tatnall, based at Busy Bees Glenalmond nursery, was awarded the prize for the most impressive ‘Career Progression’ and Sarah Pyatt from Busy Bees Hartham Park, received an award for the development of her ‘Personal Learning and Thinking’ skills.
Aimee Berry-Tatnall, senior room manager from Busy Bees Glenalmond Nursery, started as a room assistant three years ago at the age of 18.
She said: “I find it really annoying when I hear people disregarding childcare as a strong career choice – thanks to Busy Bees I have managed, at a fairly young age, to earn a living and establish a career path in a job that I love – you couldn’t wish for more at my age.
“My manager recognised my ability and rewarded my dedication by putting me onto their apprentice programme. This kind of recognition and unwavering support has given me so much confidence and motivation - I can’t wait to start working my way up to the next level, which is in management and leadership.”
Busy Bees has been delivering its in-house training programme since 2003 with funding obtained by the Skillsfirst Awards. This commitment towards skilling up staff has been recognised with its attainment of the Investors in People Award, which it has held since 1994 with bronze status gained since 2006.
Across the UK, Busy Bees has 325 members of staff currently undertaking apprenticeships (88 in management apprenticeship, 135 in advanced apprenticeship in the Children and Young People’s Workforce and 102 intermediate apprenticeship in the Children and Young People’s Workforce). Each year the company commits to placing supernumerary apprentices aged 16 to 18, a government priority group, into a large number of their nurseries with the expectation that they will stay with the company.
Currently there are 107 supernumerary learners on the programme working towards their intermediate apprenticeship in the Children and Young People’s Workforce.
Busy Bees training manager, Fay Gibbin, called 2012 “a great year” for Busy Bees Training department.
She said: “Not only have we received a ‘Good’ from Ofsted for our Learning and Skills provision under the revised framework, but twelve of our trainees and newly qualified staff won a place in the finals of our National storytelling competition held at the RSA in London. Their storytelling skills were described as ‘exceptional’ by panelists 5th Children's Laureate, novelist and poet, Michael Rosen and director of early years extended schools & special needs group, Ann Gross.”
Busy Bees is the UK’s largest childcare provider, with 213 nurseries across the country. The business incorporates Leapfrog Day Nurseries, acquired in September 2007, Early Years Childcare, acquired in January 2012, and Just Learning (incorporating Nunu and Careshare), acquired in August 2012.