Starting a childcare apprenticeship can be one of the most rewarding things you ever do, but it can also be quite challenging at times. It’s no secret that juggling work with study takes commitment and determination in order to succeed. But it will all be worth it in the end! So, here are some of our top tips to help you pass your apprenticeship.
1. Understand what’s expected of you
During your first meeting with your assessor, they’ll talk you through the course expectations and set your first assessment. In terms of your job, you’ll be expected to attend punctually each day at work and follow your setting’s policies and procedures to keep yourself safe. Make sure you ask questions if you don’t understand the expectations of either your course or your day-to-day job role.
2. Get familiar with Ecordia
When you start an apprenticeship with Parenta, you’ll be given your login details for an online assessment system called Ecordia. This will be where your assessor sets you work. You’ll also find the plans for your visits here, so you will know exactly what you have to do before the day. Your assessor will show you how to use Ecordia on their first visit.
3. Ask your assessor plenty of questions
Your assessor will be available by phone and email throughout the duration of your apprenticeship. You can also send messages to them through Ecordia. If you’re not sure about any aspect of your course, make sure you tell your assessor. Their role is to support you, but they can’t do that if you don’t let them know you need help.
4. Prepare for your observations
An observation is when your assessor visits you in your place of work. During this visit, your assessor will spend around 3 hours observing you carrying out planned activities. Afterwards, your assessor will need to take you away from the children to give feedback and talk to you about your next assessment. Make sure you’re well prepared for your observation by understanding what you’re being assessed on and why.
5. Set aside time to complete assignments
During your apprenticeship, you’ll be set a new learning task every month. So, even though you may be working full time, you’ll be expected to take responsibility for your learning and set aside time to study. It can be helpful to create a timetable each week so you know when you have time to complete your assignments in your evenings or weekends. You may also choose to carry out some research during your lunch breaks, too.
6. Involve your employer
Your employer can provide a supporting role to help you pass your apprenticeship, so make sure you keep them updated with how you’re progressing on your course and if they can help in any way. You’ll also need to liaise with them about when your assessor is next coming to do an observation, as this will involve taking time away from the children.
7. Take care of your health
When you’re working and studying, it’s easy to neglect healthy habits like doing regular exercise and getting a good night’s sleep. Make sure you maintain a balanced lifestyle so that you have plenty of energy to study. While sleep requirements vary from person to person, most healthy adults need between 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best.
8. Ask your family for support
Having support from your family can make the world of difference. Chat to them to let them know that you need to commit to a set number of hours studying per week and if they could leave you alone whilst you do this, that would be a great help. If you have children of your own, ask if a friend/family member can take them out whilst you complete your assignments.
9. Eat well to help you learn
Studying requires a lot of concentration! Feed your brain so that you give yourself the optimum chance to absorb all the new information. Foods which will boost your ability to focus whilst you study include: blueberries, green tea, avocados, leafy green vegetables, oily fish (like, salmon and mackerel), water, dark chocolate, flax seeds, and nuts.
10. Don’t forget to reward yourself
Don’t forget to set aside time to catch up with friends and do things you enjoy, like going to the cinema. Giving yourself regular breaks from studying will help you to renew your focus and concentration for your apprenticeship. It can also be good motivation to reward yourself when you reach certain ‘milestones’ each month, like completing an assignment.