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Transforming Education and Childcare, One Apprentice at a Time

The world of early years education is evolving at a rapid pace, and the changes that are happening are nothing short of transformative! One change that has been making waves...
29 April 2024
Transforming Education and Childcare, One Apprentice at a Time

The world of early years education is evolving at a rapid pace, and the changes that are happening are nothing short of transformative! One change that has been making waves is the recent update to the Level 3 Early Years Educator apprenticeship. As of 1st April 2024, the apprenticeship will no longer require a diploma, a move that is aimed at making the course more accessible to a wider pool of candidates.

A recent report from FE Week has said that ‘Fewer than one in five nursery managers surveyed last year by the Early Education and Childcare Coalition said they could offer the extended free hours entitlement because of the recruitment crisis, with more than half of nursery staff considering quitting in the next year.

Department for Education data for 2022 shows 334,000 early years workers, down 10,000 (3 per cent) from the peak in 2019. Childminder numbers have fallen by one-fifth since 2019.

Ofsted last year flagged concerns that early years providers find it difficult to recruit and retain qualified staff.’ The support from the Education and Skills Funding Agency to enable the widening of the candidate pool amid the government’s childcare reforms in the spring 2023 budget, such as 30 hours a week of free childcare for eligible working parents of children aged nine months up to three years in England is a welcome.

•	Transforming Education and Childcare, One Apprentice at a Time

What are the benefits for learners?

One of the most significant changes is the elimination of the diploma requirement, the new apprenticeship programmes now place a greater emphasis on developing and honing the knowledge, skills, and behaviours (KSBs) needed to excel in the fields of early years and education. This means that apprentices can expect to receive more targeted training and support, which will better equip them to meet the demands of the job and possess the necessary competencies to provide high-quality care and education to children.

Employers are also investing more in enrolling their team members taking an apprenticeship, recognising the value of having a highly skilled workforce. This is great news for anyone looking to embark on a career in early years and/or education, as it means that there will be more opportunities to gain not only the necessary qualifications but more focussed on the job experience.

The apprenticeship programmes consist of real-world on-the-job training, online learning, and assessments. These assessments are designed to evaluate the individual’s KSBs and ensure that they have the necessary skills to provide quality care to children. The programmes typically take 16-18 months to complete, this can vary depending on the individual’s prior experience and qualifications as well as whether they are taking the Early Years Educator or Teaching Assistant apprenticeship.

What are the benefits for employers?

Employers who invest in the Early Years Educator or Teaching Assistant apprenticeships programmes can expect to see a range of benefits from the change.

The benefits:

  • Removal of the diploma
    • On the job assessments: the observations can be done in school/ early years settings – no duplication of work! Allowing you as an employer to be better informed when making the decision of whether your apprentice is ready for their EPA.
    • Focus is on the doing of a job; this is great for both employers and learners.
    • An additional benefit of working with us at CT Skills is that we work around our employers to book appointments in, rather than day release. We conduct all appointments in schools through teams, meaning less time away from the workplace and no hassle of visitors.
  • Learners can demonstrate their skills in action, not just remembering theory.
    • This makes the apprenticeship experience far more meaningful and the results more valuable for the employer.
  • Application age has lowered.
    • This has opened up a whole new demographic for the sector, a huge benefit to help with the skills shortage.
  • Funding increase.
    • Funding for the level 3 Early Years Educator apprenticeship will move up from £6,000 to £7,000 from April 2024.
  • Online learning, CT Skills will now be delivering apprenticeships nationally.
    • It’s hard not to boast about our Tutors, they’re experts in their fields and passionate about what they do. But we like to let our feedback stand for itself, click below to see why our current TrustPilot score is 4.7!
Michelle Phoenix: CT Skills Quality & Curriculum Manager

Early Years Care and Education is one of CT Skills’ most successful sectors. Offering a range of apprenticeships from Level 2 to Level 5 we can boast an 87% first-time pass rate.

With over 63,000 childcare providers in the UK, our team of expert Trainer Assessors are excited to now be able to work with apprentices nationally.

Working in partnership with employers ensures a carefully planned curriculum to support apprentices to be the best, with 75% of our Early Years Educators Apprentices gain a distinction grade!

Michelle Phoenix: CT Skills Quality & Curriculum Manager

In conclusion, the recent changes to the Level 3 Early Years Educator apprenticeship are a positive step forward for the field of education. By focusing on KSBs and making the courses more accessible, we can expect to see a new generation of highly skilled educators who are passionate about their work and committed to providing the best possible care for our young learners.


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