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Staff achieve exceptional professional development with The Skills Network

Since August 2018, the Alliance has been working with leading distance training provider The Skills Network, to provide our staff with access to some amazing professional development opportunities. 

The Skills Network Level 2 qualifications complement and align with the Alliance's own training opportunities offered through EduCare, workshops and Level 3 and 4 qualifications such as the Early Years Educator and Advanced Practitioner.

With an ever-expanding suite of funded online distance learning courses to upskill and enhance professional development, employees can now access six certified distance learning courses, which provide a fantastic learning opportunity for every employee within the Alliance to enrol onto a fully funded qualification of their choice.

Since the launch the Alliance has had over 60 employees enrol onto a nationally recognised qualification at no cost, to assist with developing their skills and furthering their career.

By far the most popular qualification has been the Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Common Childhood Illnesses course with almost half of all enrolees to date choosing the programme.

The programme helps understand how to better provide a safe and healthy environment for babies and young children, recognise when a child is unwell, and manage health conditions in an early years setting.

We have also seen employees study the Understanding Autism and Understanding Children and Young People's Mental Health courses, both of which are extremely pertinent to our day-to-day childcare settings.

The Skills Network supports learners in achieving their chosen programme, as well as offering additional development feedback through industry specialists tutors to reinforce their knowledge through “real-world” examples and references, ensuring they continue to improve and build their service around the learner’s needs.

Case study

Here’s a case study from Alliance employee Tracey Pender, who has taken the plunge to develop her career with a nationally accredited, funded qualification.

Name: Tracey Pender

Job Title: Pre-school Manager

Qualification: Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Children and Young People's Mental Health

Choosing the course:

“I chose to study this course because I wanted to upskill as part of my Continued Professional Development (CPD). I am aware of the importance of understanding mental ill health, but I wanted to be more knowledgeable about the conditions involved.

As practitioners, it is important for us to monitor the well-being of the children in our setting, and I thought this course would give me the extra knowledge as to why it is so important, what to do in certain scenarios and the impact it may have on that child.”

The quality of learning:

“It has been really brilliant – the booklets are well written, and the answers make you think further about your own experiences too. The deadlines are manageable, and I feel that I really understand the mental health conditions and the impact they can have on individuals without an early intervention.”

Studying via distance learning:

“Distance learning has allowed me to choose the right time/days to study in between being a mum and working full-time. I did not feel pressured at all during the course and the positive feedback given by Assessors spurred me on even further!”

What courses are available?

Our suite of funded opportunities now includes:

Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Autism

Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Common Childhood Illnesses

Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Children and Young People's Mental Health

Level 2 Certificate in Principles of Team Leading

Level 2 Certificate in Principles of Customer Service

Level 2 Certificate in Principles of Business Administration.

How does it work?


Select and apply for your course

Learn at a time and in a place that best suits you via distance learning

Your dedicated Learner Support Advisor and subject specialist Tutor will ensure to guide you through to success.

We look forward to seeing more and more employees taking up these amazing opportunities for professional development.

For more information on EduCare, workshops and level 3 and 4 qualifications, please contact the Alliance Training Centre on 01732 363070 or