Case study

Apprentice nursery practitioner — Indy Kang

After deciding that university wasn't for her, Indy left her degree and embarked on the Level 2 and Level 3 Early Years Educator Apprenticeship, which involved working as a nursery practitioner at Bright Horizons' Woodlands Day Nursery in London

Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship?

I've always wanted to work with children but until I left school, I wasn't sure exactly what my pathway would be. After finishing my A-levels, I started a degree in social work at Hertfordshire University but soon found it wasn't quite right for me.

I was missing the real-life experience of working in a nursery setting and realised that a university course wasn't suited to my preferred learning style.

When I began looking at alternatives, I found myself drawn to apprenticeships as I could work while gaining my qualifications. I wanted to know more about the day-to-day running of a nursery and interact with the children, which is exactly what the apprenticeship offered me.

How did you find and apply for your apprenticeship?

I first applied for a role in one of Bright Horizons' Bright Spaces - play environments designed to help vulnerable children recover from trauma - through Indeed.

After spending a couple of months in that role, my manager informed me of an upcoming apprenticeship role in the nursery. As I'd already been working in the nursery for a while, I wanted to stay.

How did the apprenticeship work?

It took me just over a year to complete my Level 2 qualification and almost a year-and-a-half to complete my Level 3 qualification. I worked in the nursery full time and was required to complete my studies, which helped me to further embed what I'd learned in the nursery. The nursery often gave me allocated study time, from a few hours to a whole day, which was so valuable in helping me complete my modules.

I was responsible for the day-to-day activities in the nursery, from breakfast to playtime through to home time. I was always given responsibility in my role, enabling me to learn much quicker.

What did you enjoy about your apprenticeship?

Getting first-hand experience of the day-to-day running of a nursery has been extremely valuable to me and helped my understanding of the modules I was completing in my studies.

My favourite thing was hearing from the children that they'd had a good day and listening to them reflect on what they'd learned or the time spent with their friends.

What did you find the most challenging?

Managing your workload when you're working full time and studying can be challenging. I had to be extremely organised and disciplined with my study time to ensure I completed all of my modules, but it was all forgotten about once I'd qualified.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

Now that I'm qualified, I'm continuing my role as a nursery practitioner, learning more about providing an environment where children can grow and develop.

I would like to work my way up to room leader and possibly deputy manager one day, although I'd still like to spend time in the nursery interacting with the children.

I'm fortunate to have a manager that fully supports my learning and development and I've a clear pathway to these roles in future.

What advice would you give to others considering the apprenticeship route instead of university?

Be prepared to work hard. It's certainly not an easy route and there's often a lot to juggle, but it's so worth it.

Also, don't be afraid to ask for support and help when you need it - I received a lot of support from the Bright Horizons team when completing my apprenticeship. This helped me to balance my time effectively and use study leave whenever I needed it.

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