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Hollie Redish, who joined Mama Bear’s Day Nursery & Pre-School in 2007 as an apprentice, says “it’s the best way to get hands on experience and gain a full insight into what the role is like.”
Ten years after starting on the bottom rung of the career ladder, she has got her Level 2 and 3 qualifications and is now a manager at Mama Bear's Day Nursery (Downend Pre-school).
There are many different career paths into childcare, but for Hollie, taking on an apprenticeship was ideal. She says: “I would 100 per cent recommend becoming an apprentice. You will quickly learn the passion, enthusiasm and love you have for the job! As an apprentice I trained alongside a well-qualified team who role modelled excellent practice, giving me support and guidance whilst in the role, which you can then reflect and put into practice straight away.
“I found by being at a nursery setting five days a week gave me so many opportunities to use what I had learnt in practice into my assignments which helped me to achieve my qualification quicker.”
Doing work experience at Mama Bear’s nursery in Hengrove while at school, helped cement her desire to work in the childcare sector. After leaving full-time education, she embarked on an apprenticeship.
'The first thing I look forward to is seeing the children'
Now aged 27 and after a decade of working in the childcare sector, she is still full of enthusiasm for the job, saying: “The first thing I look forward to, is seeing all of the children and welcoming them in for the day, asking how they are and them coming to me with open arms or telling me their stories from their weekend!
"It’s a lovely feeling when the children are excited to see you and they look forward to coming into nursery, I am privileged to share their exciting day with them. Each day is totally different which makes the role so exciting and you can always expect fun and challenge to keep you busy. I love my job." She believes the qualities of a good nursery manager are to be “passionate, hardworking and dedicated to the role”.
“My experience has taught me that children are our future and we as role models for children need to be there for their best outcomes and to ensure that they have the resources and people to explore, challenge and give all children not only the best start in their lives but to prep them for the future and be confident people,” she revealed.
“The different roles I’ve experienced here have taught me so much and given me new and exciting challenges and responsibilities. I’m now where I want to be, as a nursery manager, running my own setting, putting my own stamp onto what we do and providing the highest possible standards of care to our children, it’s so rewarding.”
The hardest part of the job is when the children move onto school
“I have worked in childcare for 10 years so every summer it gets to that time where you have looked after the majority of the children since they were at least nine months old, sometimes younger.
“So as you can imagine it is a very sad time after all these years watching them grow and change into little characters ready for school. This is a sad time as you have built such strong bonds with the children and their families and they put their trust in you to take the very best care of their child.”
However she admits although “this is a sad time it’s also such a rewarding time to see the children head off to the next transition in their lives, knowing you have cared and taught each child to be the unique individual that they are”.
Mama Bear’s includes 15 settings across Bristol in Brislington, Bradley Stoke, Clifton, Hanham, Downend, Fishponds, Hengrove, Whitchurch, Shirehampton, Soundwell and Totterdown, as well as Devon and Somerset.
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