10 top recruitment tips to help you find your ideal apprentice

10 top recruitment tips to help you find your ideal apprentice

Looking to fill a skills gap in your team? Have you ever considered taking on an apprentice? We spoke to our recruitment team here at Parenta to find out what top tips they’d recommend for employers looking to hire a new apprentice.

  1. Provide your recruiter with all of your requirements for an apprentice at your setting. This will help them find a candidate who’s tailored to your needs, getting the vacancy filled in a much shorter space of time.
  2. Allow time to communicate with recruiters. Their role is to help you! If a suitable CV is sent over and then you don’t respond for two weeks, the candidate may have found a position elsewhere.
  3. Prepare a full job description with duties for recruiters. You can also give information about the ethos of your nursery, too. This helps candidates get a feel for your setting and what they would be doing before attending an interview.
  4. Ask candidates to prepare or research something prior to interview. An example could be to think of an activity to do with children or to research what safeguarding means. This will help you to see if the candidate has made time to prepare for their interview.
  5. Hold a trial for your potential apprentice. This will help you see if the candidate interacts well with the children and uses their initiative. However, let the apprentice know what you’re looking to see as many may be nervous!
  6. Make sure you give feedback to your recruiter, as this means they can ensure that the candidate is able to improve in the future when applying to other roles (and they can then use this to find more suitable candidates for you).
  7. Discuss expectations. Young apprentices might not know what’s expected of them in a workplace such as dress code, punctuality and attitude. Talk to your apprentice regularly about how they’re getting on in the first few weeks and give them feedback.
  8. Set a probation period and make it clear to your apprentice. If things aren’t going to work out with your apprentice, you’ll normally know in the first few weeks!
  9. Arrange an enrolment meeting onto the course with your training provider in a timely manner. This will help your apprentice to understand what apprenticeship they’re completing. Make sure to check through the paperwork thoroughly so that nothing is missed, meaning that the signup process is quick and easy.
  10. Lastly, remember that you can ask the recruitment team at Parenta for information about apprenticeships if there’s anything you’re unsure about. There are always changes to apprenticeships including the new 10% contribution, grants and apprenticeship minimum wage – just ask us if you’re not sure.


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How can you help your new apprentice settle in quickly?

How can you help your new apprentice settle in quickly?

In the year 2015/16, the Government recorded 131,000 apprenticeship starts in England for Health, Public Services and Care. This number has risen steadily every year from 2009/2010, when there were 44,000 apprenticeship starts.

Apprentices can provide a wealth of benefits to your business including enhanced productivity, a boost in team morale, and filling skill gaps in your workforce. Making sure they get the right amount of care, training and attention from all parties including their colleagues, the business itself, their training provider and assessor is paramount.

So, how can you ensure your apprentice settles in quickly, learns the ropes fast and develops within your organisation? Read on…

  1. Provide a thorough induction process

You should have an induction process which shows, at least, what the first week has in store for your apprentice. The induction schedule should include what training they’ll attend, the people they’ll spend time with, and how the rest of their time will be structured. It can help to timetable this out with your team and agree upon suitable times for activities to take place.

  1. Give them an overview of their role

Help the apprentice understand what duties they’ll be responsible for and who they’ll be reporting to as their line manager, especially if they need to report any problems they’re having. It can be helpful to give them an overview of where their role sits within the wider context of the business, too.

  1. Run through practical advice

On their first day, give the apprentice a tour of the workplace so they know from a practical perspective where everything’s located. They should also be given guidance in terms of when to take breaks, working time and dress code – plus any other necessary information they should be aware of such as your fire evacuation procedure.

  1. Beware that extra support may be needed

Your apprentice may be a recent school leaver with hardly any work experience, or they may have a specific learning disability. This should be considered as part of their training and extra support given accordingly – it could mean that one on one coaching is needed or that learning styles/materials are adapted to suit your apprentice’s needs.

  1. Match your apprentice with a buddy

Finding a colleague who can be your apprentice’s designated ‘buddy’ can work wonders for their integration into the team. The role of the buddy will be to provide help for any issues which may arise during the course of the apprentice’s day, as well as helping them feel less isolated as a new member of the team.

Many new apprentices will be school leavers and, therefore, relatively new to the workplace environment. The things your other staff members already know about how to behave and following the workplace rules will be unfamiliar territory for them. Therefore, good management and support of your apprentice is the key to helping them settle into the role and progress well.

You should capitalise on the fact that your apprentice has chosen this role for themselves and is committed to learning how to progress in the sector. With the right structure and supervision, they can become a real asset to the company and a very employable and well-rounded working professional.

Looking for an apprentice to join your team? We can help find one for you! Contact our recruitment team today on recruitment@parenta.com, call 0800 002 9242 or fill in our enquiry form. 

Why summer is the perfect time to take on an apprentice

Why summer is the perfect time to take on an apprentice

The number of students applying to university has fallen, according to official figures.

UCAS data has shown that 25,000 fewer people have applied to start degree courses at UK universities and colleges this autumn, compared to last year. This equates to a 4% dip in applications.

These figures suggest that school leavers are considering other training and education options, such as apprenticeships.

So, when is the best time to take on an apprentice? Many young people consider what their options are after exams in January, according to the director of Director of South West Apprenticeship Company Ltd (SWAC) Clare Vertigen.

However, GCSE exams typically finish in June of each year, so it’s at this point that students will finalise their plans to either carry on and do sixth form, go to university or start an apprenticeship.

Taking on a summer apprentice

To attract school leavers looking to enter the world of work, it makes sense to open up a vacancy at your business from July onwards, as young people can’t start an apprenticeship whilst still in full-time education.

Taking on an apprentice during the summer months, for example in a childcare setting, will help your new employee settle in and get accustomed to the day-to-day running of business before the new intake of children in September.

Flexibility of your training provider

When recruiting for an apprentice, you’ll need to consider that some training providers may start their apprenticeship programmes strictly from the September academic year. This typically tends to be the case when you use a college of further education. Other training providers, such as Parenta, are able to be more flexible with the start date for your new apprentice.

Rather than advertising for an apprentice yourself, it can take the pressure off a little to engage with a specialist provider. They’ll take the time to find out exactly what type of apprentice you’re looking for, put together a job advert, and sort through candidates who meet your specific requirements.

So, if you’re considering taking on an apprentice for your business, now’s the time to act!

Need help finding an apprentice? Let the Parenta team provide you with advice. Call our team on 0800 002 9242 or find out more here.


5 steps to getting the best from your new employee

5 steps to getting the best from your new employee

How many times have you hired a new employee at your setting, only to find the following happens?

  • They’re making too many mistakes
  • They don’t understand what they’re supposed to do
  • They’re underperforming

If you find this is happening quite often when you take on new staff, it could be worth going back and checking your recruitment and training processes in the first instance.

Here’s a 5 step guide to getting the best from your new employee:

1. Provide a job description

New employees aren’t telepathic and need to be provided with a clear job description so they know what’s expected of them. When they start (or before their first day!), provide them with a copy of their job description so they know exactly what their responsibilities are. This can clear up any confusion from the beginning.

2. Delve deeper during the interview stage

Although you may be short on time and have a million things to do, don’t ‘wing it’ when interviewing candidates.  Jot down a list of specific questions which will help you determine if someone would be really right for the role. Ask questions which require them to provide real–life examples, for example e.g “Tell me about a time when you…” – instead of asking questions which only require a yes/no answer.

3. Set objectives early on

Set objectives from the very beginning of the probation and make sure that, during your review meetings, you discuss your employee’s progress towards them. This will help them understand what’s required of them. There’s no point in complaining about underperformance if your employee has no idea how well they’re doing until the very end of their probation.

4. Give credit where credit’s due

When you recognise that the employee has performed well or exceeded expectations, be sure to take the time to praise them for it. This kind of recognition can go a long way, and is an easy way to boost morale.

5. Establish a structured probation process

Make sure you have a clear probation process. Part of this could involve holding review meetings with your employee staggered across different intervals, such as at 30, 60 and 90 days. This will give you a chance to identify and discuss any weaknesses in performance in the early stages.

Follow these 5 steps to ensure that when you take on a new employee, you get the best performance from them from the beginning.

Need another pair of hands at your setting? We can help!


6 ways you can encourage staff to take higher level training at your setting

6 ways you can encourage staff to take higher level training at your setting

Even when you have hard working, passionate staff at your setting, some individuals may lack the drive to put themselves forward for their next childcare qualification. But staff training and development is not only essential to make practitioners better at their jobs, it has many benefits for the employer too.

Over half (51%) of employers believe a main benefit of improving staff qualifications and skills is increased staff commitment and retention, according to a publication by the professional association AAT. Investing in training also reduces recruitment costs, attracts top talent to the business and helps prevent skills shortages.

So, how can you encourage your staff to undertake further training and embed it in your company culture? Follow these simple steps:

1.Create a revision area

Make your setting revision friendly – have a quiet area where staff can go to read their books or complete their assignments in peace when they have spare time. Provide a table and put up a sign to let people know that the area is reserved for staff revision/study.

2.Find out hopes for the future

Speak with all your employees to find out which ones have a strong desire to progress themselves. If they aspire to become room leaders, you can talk to them about taking their Level 3 or working towards other management qualifications.

3.Celebrate success

Make a point of celebrating staff members who successfully complete their training. For instance, you could bring homemade cakes and special treats into work when someone passes a course. Showing this level of recognition will help incentivise others members of your team and boost morale.

4.Tell your staff what it means to you

Whenever you get the chance, be it in your one-to-one catch ups or when a new person joins your team, be vocal about how much you value people working towards higher qualifications and what a positive impact it has for the setting and the children.

5.Seek out learning mentors

Ask employees who have already achieved their Level 2 and Level 3 to act as mentors to younger nursery assistants and apprentices to support them through their own training. Mentors provide invaluable support and sources of advice to junior colleagues.

6.Include training in objectives

When you set out objectives, get the staff member’s agreement to start working towards their next qualification. Having the goal down in black and white is strong motivation to nudge them towards taking action.

Train my staff 3




How to improve the performance of your employees

How to improve the performance of your employees

One of the key factors for having a successful setting is to ensure that your staff are performing to the best of their abilities, both as a team and individually. We’ve put together a few steps to help you improve the performance of staff in your setting.

Observe them whilst they’re working

Being able to observe your staff whilst they’re working is crucial: you need to be happy that they’re doing their job to an acceptable standard and that they’re comfortable with the responsibilities assigned to them. Taking notes on your employee’s performance as you observe them will give you a better idea of what their strengths and weaknesses are.

Have a one-on-one meeting

Once you’ve observed your employee’s performance, the next step is to discuss how they’re feeling and talk about some of your observations.  You could begin by asking them how they feel about their role; what they think they’re excelling in and what they’re struggling with (make sure you’re taking notes of their responses, too!). You can then expand on what they’ve said by pointing out what you’ve picked up on during your observations.

Implement additional training

You should now be more aware of where improvements could be made within your team. With this in mind, you could consider refresher training or conducting some additional internal training. Where staff are taking courses or qualifications, you could consider a buddy/mentoring system, whereby you encourage experienced members of staff to support junior members of staff.

Encourage team building and motivate

Motivating your team is essential to their performance; you need to praise them where possible and encourage them when they’re feeling down. Even when you’re really busy, try to ensure you’re approachable so that your employees feel like they can easily come to you with any issues or concerns they’re having within their role.

Ensuring that your staff work well together is also important and you could consider organising team building exercises to improve relationships between staff members. You could even arrange days out as a team! You’ll find if your employees have a chance to socialise outside of work, then their team working and communication skills within work will start to improve, too.


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