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Busy Bees, the UK’s largest childcare provider, has launched an apprenticeship training programme to encourage industrywide best practice and raise the bar for quality childcare provision.
Busy Bees currently employs and trains more than 600 apprentices across its 239 nurseries – but is now rolling out an apprenticeship programme that other early years settings can join, hoping to attract school leavers and those already working in in the industry who wish to upskill. Initially the programme will be trialled at a selected number of smaller, independent settings before being offered to a wider range of childcare providers next year.
Hadlow Community Pre-School, near Kent, is one of the first settings to sign up to the programme. The setting currently has four people signed up with Busy Bees; two are participating in a level 3 management apprenticeship and two are undertaking the Children and Young People’s level 3 apprenticeship. Short courses in leadership and management are also being explored.
Jessica Sherwood, supervisor at Hadlow Community Pre-School, says: “We don’t have the resource in-house to offer such a robust training and assessment programme so we’re really excited to be one of the first childcare providers to benefit from the expertise Busy Bees has to offer.
“Busy Bees has a strong reputation in the industry so partnering with them made sense. We have a dedicated tutor who visits us on site and is always available by phone or email, if any of us have any queries with the course material.”
The apprenticeship programme has been designed by a specialist division of Busy Bees Childcare, The Busy Bees Early Years Training Academy, and will be supported by a well-established team of training practitioners and qualified NVQ assessment professionals.
Training manager Fay Gibbin, explains what the launch of the programme will mean for the childcare industry: “Busy Bees is synonymous with quality childcare provision and that’s partly due to our commitment to continued professional development and helping our employees reach their career potential, through various training initiatives including apprenticeships. We recognise that by employing both caring and well qualified staff, we can offer our children the very best start in life, emotionally, socially and educationally.
“By launching The Busy Bees Early Years Training Academy, and the external delivery of our apprenticeships programme, we are essentially offering independent settings the support, experience and stability needed to transform school leavers into well-rounded and qualified members of staff. We’re also helping such settings upskill existing employees, which promotes enhanced staff retention, morale and sustainability. Ultimately, we are helping smaller settings achieve the highest standards and provide exceptional care to children.”
The Busy Bees Early Years Training Academy will be offering four apprenticeship programmes to external settings from summer 2014. These currently include the Children and Young People’s Workforce apprenticeship programme at Level 2 and the new Early Years Educator apprenticeship at level 3. Level 2 will be open to school leavers age 16 and over who wish to become Assistant Early Years Educators with the opportunity to progress onto the Early Years Educator apprenticeship at level 3. Once qualified, apprentices can undertake the management apprenticeship at Level 3 if they wish to progress to become room managers.
A catering apprenticeship is also available for both school leavers and existing staff working within the kitchens.
For more information on The Busy Bees Early Years Training Academy and external apprenticeship programme, please contact Liz Baynham on 01543 678 558.