At Parenta we offer training for a range of childcare qualifications, including apprenticeships in childcare. We have a team of recruiters for this, one of whom is Recruitment Liaison Officer Leah Daley. She has much experience in the recruitment process, and the consideration of apprenticeship candidates. We conducted an interview with her to ask what she looks for in an apprentice and to share some more knowledge about apprenticeships.

Are there any particular qualities you look for in someone when considering them as a candidate for an apprenticeship?

An important quality for anyone looking to go into a career in childcare is to be passionate about the job. If an apprentice is not passionate about the prospect of working in childcare, there’s no point pursuing it. And companies like to work with people they know are enthusiastic about their work. It is also important that the candidate has a good understanding of children’s needs, since a big part of their job will be interacting with and looking after children, so the main priority should always be their needs and requirements. And, of course, patience, reliability, and being caring are all necessary qualities to possess when working with children.

Do candidates need to have any prior knowledge or experience in childcare?

No, is it definitely not a requirement. In fact, some nurseries prefer to employ less qualified people so that they can be moulded and trained in the specific ways of that company. So long as the candidate demonstrates the necessary ambition and dedication to working in childcare, anyone can become an apprentice.

Would you be more inclined to take someone on as an apprentice if they had prior knowledge or experience?

Again, not at all. It depends purely on the requirements of specific workplaces – if they are looking to employ someone with a level three qualification then of course someone brand new to the apprenticeship with no qualifications would not get the job. But as I mentioned above, some places do look for less qualified people to employ. So no, the apprentice selection programme is not inclined either way.

Many people associate apprenticeships purely with teenagers and young adults. Are they open to a wider age group? If so, do you see many older apprenticeship candidates?

As a company, Parenta does specialise in the training of 16-18 year olds in apprenticeships, so we do tend to see a lot more people of this age group, but they are open to people of any age. For example, we see some older candidates, who have been inspired to pursue a career in childcare after having children themselves.

What would you say are the advantages of doing an apprenticeship?

I would say the main advantage of doing an apprenticeship is that there is no better way of learning how to do a job, than to do the job. And that is exactly what an apprenticeship enables you to do. It’s a very hands-on experience. Apprentices also get the benefit of more personal training than you would down other learning pathways like college, since they’re not in classes which divide the attention of the person teaching them.

Lastly, if you were to describe the ideal apprenticeship candidate in three words, what would they be?

Hard-working, committed, and bubbly.

Would you like to find out more about doing a childcare apprenticeship?

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