Melissa is 16 years old and doing a Level 2 apprenticeship in childcare. She’s training to be a nursery nurse whilst working in a Montessori day nursery. Here's her top tips to help you succeed as a childcare apprentice:
Make sure you have done some volunteer work with children. Before I started, I had an outlook on what a nursery environment would be like as I worked with children with special educational needs beforehand. I did not go in to an environment for it to be a big shock as I had a rough idea on what it would be like.
...When the nursery environment gets stressful, just take a big breath and relax because you are not the only person feeling like that. With sometimes up to nineteen children crying at once, it can be daunting. However, just do not stop there, carry on.
Make sure you take your full lunch break. This is vital as sometimes long hours without any food, your blood sugar levels will drop and your attitude towards work and other people will change.
Follow advice that the staff give you because they will always be right, most of the time the staff that are giving you the advice will have been there for a long time and know exactly what the routine is. Just stop and remember to listen!
When I went in to a nursery environment, I went straight from school; it was so different from a school environment. The people were different, the attitude was more relaxed and they all make you feel welcome. For some reason I was still nervous... It is so important to control your nerves and just relax.
Be prepared to work much longer days than you did at school and different hours. The six hour days stopped for me. I work thirty hours a week although I do some overtime. Some days can be 7.30 until 6.00.
Ask advice and listen carefully if not sure. Remember you are just starting out and you are going to be a bit unsure. The staff will respect that and they will help you along the way. When I first started, my team were overloaded with questions by me!
So, what makes the job rewarding?
What makes my job rewarding is to see the children develop day by day. You see some children start nursery at the age of four months and develop to the age of two years old and watching them succeed and achieving their milestones. I also love working with my team as we all get on so well. We help each other achieve better day by day.