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Case study: From unqualified assistant to Level 3 practitioner

Daisy YardleyDaisy Yardley works in Keystone Nursery in Birmingham.

She started her Early Years career after applying for the post of an unqualified assistant at Keystone and was subsequently taken on for 40 hours per week in a full-time role.

Three months into her new job, Daisy was asked to study for a Level 3 apprenticeship. Daisy did not have any Early Years qualifications when she began her programme, but she did have mathematics and English at GCSE. 

Daisy also had a L2 ICT qualification but it wasn’t recognised on the apprenticeship framework so she began studying for her FS's ICT examination alongside the vocational aspects of her course.

Don't be afraid to ask for help

Daisy said: "Before starting my Level 3 apprenticeship award, I was concerned about time management, in particular how I would organise my time to achieve the award. I preferred the idea of Distance Learning and an online portfolio so I could choose when I completed my work and when I could upload my evidence for my assessor to mark. 

"I also liked the opportunity to discuss any questions with my assessor when she visited me in the setting to judge my work-based skills.

"I felt supported by my assessor and my setting.

"If I was to offer advice about future apprentices I would say — organise your time well. Don’t leave everything to the last minute, pace yourself,  so you don’t feel under pressure. And ask your setting and the assessor for help if you need it; don’t be afraid to ask anything – even if it is to ask the setting for a little bit of support."

When Daisy started her apprenticeship she aspired to be working competently as a Level 3 practitioner, while gaining up to date knowledge which she could share at team meetings.

However, there were challenges.

She said: "Sometime it was hard to motivate myself and find the time to complete my studies while working, learning all the required legislation, EYFS statutory guidance and interpreting some of the criteria.

"1:1 reviews really helped me to know what was expected and my assessor planned my studies and deadlines around my current needs and interests."

Since completing the Level 3 apprenticeship in 2016, Daisy feels the impact of her learning has improved her knowledge and understanding of Early Years.

She said: "I now realise that everything I learnt on the course is ‘holistic’ and it all links together to support children’s learning and development, for example child development, policies and procedures, EYFS, observation and record keeping, particularly. 

"I've learned why everything is done the way it is and monitored consistently for the well-being of the children."

Exploring new roles

Daisy now has different roles and responsibilities; she is a Senior Setting Worker (SSW) and Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO).

She currently, leads the room for 0-2 year olds but is occasionally asked to cover different rooms/age groups which extends her experience and she gets to know the children, particularly those that she supports within her SENCO role.

Daisy is happy in her current role at the moment (SSW & SENCO).  She now has qualifications and transferable skills that she could use to develop her career further if and when she feels ready to do this.

Where next?

Learn more about Alliance training courses and qualifications