7 essential questions to ask before starting your childcare apprenticeship

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Before you start your apprenticeship, there are some key questions you should be prepared to ask your employer. These questions will make the process much smoother and will ensure you’re well prepared for your first day – which will also make you look super professional! We recommend asking:

1. What will my working hours be?

Each setting will have a different way of breaking down shifts and you’ll need to know where you fit in. To qualify for an apprenticeship, you have to be working more than 16 hours a week (so that’s guaranteed wherever you go)  but your starting and finishing times/days may vary.

2. How much holiday will I be entitled to?

You will be entitled to the standard 20 days a year, however, some businesses may offer more. You should find out if there are certain times of the year when you’re not allowed to take holiday and how much notice you need to give for any annual leave you do take.

3. What is your sickness procedure?

Every business will have a sickness or absence procedure which outlines how much notice you need to give if you’re not well enough to go to work and who you need to contact. Their policy will also tell you if your sick leave is paid or unpaid and whether you require a doctor’s note for certain periods of absence.

4. What will my hourly/monthly wage be?

The minimum wage for an apprentice under 19 (and those over 19 but in their first year of their apprenticeship) is £3.30 an hour. However, this might go up or differ depending on the business and it’s always worth asking when your payday is.

5. What time do I get to take my lunch and for how long?

Breaks are important to take and the length of your shift will determine how long your lunch is, you might also be allocated a set time to take your lunch every day. If you smoke, you might also want to cover how many breaks (if any) you’re allowed to take and what their procedure is for smokers, as you might be required to leave the premises.

6. How will my course be split between work and study?

Some employers will grant you time in working hours to complete some of your course, whilst others might not be able to. Find out your employer’s preference on this; you might be required to complete your coursework at home.

7. What will I need to wear on my first day?

Your setting might require you to wear a set uniform or there might be a dress code. If the setting requires you to have a uniform, you’ll need to find out if this is provided or where you can purchase it from. Nurseries also tend to have strict policies regarding piercings, jewellery, nails and hair so check with your employer about what these are and how they might affect you.

Asking all these questions will ensure you’re fully prepared for your first day, which will take some of the pressure off when you start. Employers like to see pro-active staff members and asking them lots of questions will show you’ve used your initiative to prepare.

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