What is your current job and what does your role involve?
I am currently doing a Childcare apprenticeship and it involves working with children in a pre-school.
What training or education did you undertake to get to where you are today and are you still working towards any qualifications?
During school, I missed out on a year of education due to a number of surgeries. Despite this, I still achieved a grade C in all my GCSEs! I then went on to a music technology course at college and passed this with a merit!
Since then, I have done quite a lot of work experience and volunteering, including a nursery, primary school and children’s charity shop. As for training, I completed a level 1 employability course with Ellen from Achieving for Children as part of their Positive Directions programme.
I am currently working towards my Level 2 Childcare NVQ which I hope to achieve at the end of my apprenticeship.
How has your employer supported you in the workplace and have they made any adjustments for you, if required?
Yes, they showed me where everything is in the pre-school and explained all my tasks very clearly. In terms of adjustments, if I need help, I can easily contact my employer. They are great, very supportive and always help when needed.
What is the best thing about your current job or apprenticeship?
Just being with the children and all the activities I do with them! I love this apprenticeship and I’m so glad I found it.
What made you want to work in Childcare?
After doing some work experience in Childcare, I really wanted to do more. I love watching them and watching them all grow up. The work experience was so great it made me want to learn and do more!
What challenges have you faced when finding and starting work and how have you overcome these?
One of them was trying to find an apprenticeship. It took a very long time and I was also seeking one during Covid lockdowns, but eventually one popped up that I liked! It was also a bit challenging to learn my whereabouts when I started, but now I know where everything is.
Nerves weren’t too big of a problem when I started as my previous experience meant I felt confident going in there on my first day. I knew what to expect, and I knew it would be noisy!
Do you have any advice for anyone that may be facing similar challenges?
Keep searching for jobs. Don’t give up because there will always be something out there for you, you’ve just got to dig a little deeper to find it.
What support did you get to help you achieve your goals and gain employment? This could include, from school, college Achieving for Children, project mentors?
- I had a learning support assistant at school who was able to help with my GCSEs. I don’t think I would be where I am today without her, she was very helpful. I also received additional support in college,
- My experiences of being in nurseries and being supported by staff has helped me learn a lot more about working with young children.
- Carol from AfC. She’s my mentor and has supported me a lot in terms of courses and learning about employability.
- Ellen from AfC. Her employability course was really good and very helpful.
What did you do to stay motivated whilst searching for jobs?
I continued looking for jobs every single day, including weekends. I knew if I checked each day it would be updated and I might find something I like. I also did some more work experience, and did other things like going on walks to keep myself active.
I made the most of services offered to me like the Positive Directions programme and attended weekly skills sessions.
What are your future career plans?
I’m very happy with what I’m currently doing, but I would like to explore some more of the music industry - perhaps a primary school music teacher! That would be great as it involves both childcare and music.
I would also like to do more volunteer work, even if it is just on the weekends. I would really like to be an entertainer in a children’s hospice, like the ones that play with the children and make them laugh. I like to make people smile, young or old, but I would specifically like to make young children in the hospice smile as they have been through very tough times.
Every Friday, I’m a BSL (British Sign Language) assistant with Mencap, this is quite cool too!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I would like to be in a flat because I’m currently in a supported living house, so my next stage would be to live independently in a flat. Careerwise, I would like to be in a professional career - progressing to something like a music teacher would make me very happy.