Everything you need to know about childcare apprenticeships

childcare setting with two nursery workings and young children doing creative tasks

Interested in a childcare apprenticeship? Here are some of your most common questions answered.

What does a childcare apprenticeship involve?

Early Years childcare professionals support children from birth to the age of 5 in a range of public and private settings including schools, nurseries, playgroups, hospitals, and home learning environments.
Some of your main responsibilities as a childcare apprentice will include:

  • Plan and supervise child-initiated and adult-led activities which are based on the needs and interests of each child 
  • Support children to develop numeracy and language skills through games and play 
  • Have key person responsibility to help ensure each child feels safe and secure 
  • Observe each child and shape their learning experience, reflecting on their observations and assessments 
  • Meet the care needs of the individual child such as feeding, changing nappies and administration of medicine 
  • Work in partnership with other colleagues, parents and/or carers or other professionals to meet the individual needs of each child

What qualifications and skills do you need for a childcare apprenticeship?

Most employers don’t require any specific qualifications to start a childcare apprenticeship, however, you must be at least 16 years old, and you will be required to undergo a DBS check before working with children.

For any childcare apprentice, good communication skills are a must as you’ll need to communicate regularly with the children as well as their parents, carers and the rest of your team. You’ll need to be caring and nurturing, as well as patient and understanding as you could be working with children from birth to the end of Reception year.

Why should I complete a childcare apprenticeship?

Childcare is one of the most rewarding careers to pursue as you’ll be helping to develop and shape the minds of future generations. If you want a career that allows you to show compassion and care all while being creative and fun in your teaching, childcare is the way to go. Apprenticeships are ideal for candidates who prefer a hands-on approach to learning and are a great way to learn practical skills from those currently working with children.

A childcare apprenticeship will give you the hands-on experience that is essential to developing the skills and confidence you need for a successful career. The work-based nature of a childcare apprenticeship also helps you get used to school and nursery environments – that are highly different from traditional workplaces. 

How should I prepare for a childcare apprenticeship interview?

Once you’ve been invited for an interview, it’s time to show your interviewer that you’ve got everything they’re looking for in an apprentice. 

1.    Research – find out more about the school or nursery in advance so you can ask relevant questions and demonstrate qualities that seem important to them.
2.    Prepare – even if you don’t know exactly what is going to be asked on the day, you can prepare a list of key facts about yourself that can keep you focused when answering.
3.    Plan ahead – make sure you know what you’re going to wear and how you’re going to get to the interview so that you can make the best first impression
4.    Body language – try to use your body to show the interviewer how friendly and enthusiastic you are. Remember to smile, sit up straight, and make eye contact!
5.    Ask questions – have some questions prepared to show that you are interested in learning more about the workplace and apprenticeship.

Take a look at our list of qualities that employers look for in an apprentice for more tips on what to demonstrate. 
Read more: Top tips for a great childcare apprenticeship interview

How long does a childcare apprenticeship take?

Our childcare apprenticeships for Early Years Practitioners or Early Years Educators take between 16 and 21 months. This ensures you have time to get to know the childcare and education industry as well as develop key skills for the school or nursery where you’re working. This means that you’ll ultimately be able to take on more complex tasks due to your experience within the role. 

Read more: How long is an apprenticeship?

How much do childcare apprentices get paid?

Childcare apprentices are paid at least the minimum national apprenticeship wage rate of £4.81 if they are under 19 OR over 19 and in their first year of the apprenticeship. Once an apprentice is over 19 and has completed the first year of their apprenticeship, they are paid at least the national minimum wage for their age. 

Many employers choose to pay their apprentices more than minimum wage as they recognise it helps to improve loyalty to their employer as well as their overall quality of life.  

What can I do after completing a childcare apprenticeship?

There are a range of roles you could move into with an early years qualification that open up a wealth of opportunities depending on your goals – from Childcare assistant to senior leadership roles in schools.

Our dedicated team have a wealth of experience and can guide you to the right match for your career ambitions. Call 03333 222 666 to speak to a member of our team.  

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