The Nursery Managers Show 2024: Our Experience

Last week we attended the Nursery Managers Show at the NEC. As a specialist Early Years expo we were looking forward to hearing the expertise of the speakers, discovering specialist...
5 July 2024
The Nursery Managers Show 2024: Our Experience

Last week we attended the Nursery Managers Show at the NEC. As a specialist Early Years expo we were looking forward to hearing the expertise of the speakers, discovering specialist suppliers, recruitment services and more!

Arriving bright and early we had plenty of time to look around, scout the speaker areas and catch up with the business exhibiting – we even went the spend time with the ponies (more on them later!) before the crowds arrived.

Our day at the Nursery Managers Show

The first speaker we went to hear at the Nursery Managers Show was Sam Ballington who was talking about ‘understanding qualification requirements and pathways into the early years sector’. During the presentation, we learnt more about the recent and upcoming updates in the early years apprenticeships including the removal of the diploma, the changes in the End Point Assessment, and the knowledge, skills, and behaviours (KSB) content. If you would like to learn more about these changes, read our blog HERE.

For us, It was interesting to hear what other people thought about the changes in the early years apprenticeships and to see other perspectives on the matter. The speaker as well as the audience all seemed very positive about the changes just like us!

Sam also covered the ratios for what qualifications employees need to be with a certain number and age of babies. Although we don’t necessarily need this information, as we don’t work in a nursery, it was very interesting to learn! She then went through what the early years qualifications consist of and what the learners will achieve within the Level 3 Early Years Educator, Level 5 Senior/Lead Practitioner, and Level 6 Qualifications. Overall, this talk was extremely interesting. We acquired lots of in-depth knowledge about the early years’ qualifications and ratios.

Nursery Managers Show

Next on our list at the Nursery Managers Show was the entertainment that was held on the centre stage – musical bingo! We didn’t know what to expect… As the crowd gathered, we noticed two amazing-looking women dressed up and ABBA started playing. We quickly noticed that this was ABBA bingo where you had to guess the name of the song that the duo was singing. They sounded amazing and it was great fun. I won the bingo and received an overnight stay at a hotel and resort!

After the dancing and singing fun at the entertainment stage, we attended another talk which was about recruitment and retention. This talk was led by Dean Lloyd from The Protocol Group. He gave tips on how to act and what questions to ask in an interview which included technical, behavioural, and situational questions to gain a variety of different answers. He also gave us the best practices for interviewing such as creating a comfortable environment, being consistent, having active listening, evaluating soft skills, providing information, and having a good follow-up. All of this is great information to make sure we leave the interviewee with a great first impression.

Dean also explained how we needed to ensure we have a good plan for the new employee such as catch-ups and reviews to discuss any concerns and provide guidance. Overall, this talk was great for our recruiters and leaders as it guided us in crafting effective job descriptions, the interview process, candidate sourcing, onboarding new staff, retention strategies, professional development, and creating a positive working environment.

Nursery Managers Show

Straight after, we made our way to another talk led by Gemma Mathews from Paragon Skills, a training provider. Their talk was about ‘supporting your future leaders with apprenticeships’. We went through apprenticeship programmes and professional behaviours such as:

  • Communication
  • Leadership and teamwork
  • Creativity
  • Time management and adaptability
  • Problem-solving
  • Work ethic
  • Critical thinking
  • Conflict management
  • Emotional intelligence

Gemma also led us through the importance of leadership skills and how learners can acquire them through Business Administration apprenticeships. She mentioned how the skills you learn within a BA apprenticeship are extremely similar to the ones you need to be a leader/ manager therefore it opens up the possibilities of future leadership roles for learners who have taken on this apprenticeship. Many learners feel like business administration only leads to that specific role however we discovered the huge possibilities for BA apprentices!

Nursery Managers Show

After a good day at the Nursery Managers Show of exploring other businesses, meeting ponies, learning new skills, and gaining some great tips and tricks for success, we had one more round of ABBA musical bingo and then called it a day. We had such a brilliant time and will be attending again! Let us know what you thought of the exhibition…

Meet the team that attended!

Nursery Managers Show

Kerry Redgate – Business Development Manager – kerry.redgate@ctskills.co.uk

Ross Braker – Business Development Manager – ross.braker@ctskills.co.uk

Nicola Aram – Marketing Manager

Lisa Robinson – Curriculum Development Lead

Amelia Harris – Marketing Assistant

Katie Niblett – Marketing Assistant

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