We wanted to know first hand what it is like to do an apprenticeship. Nalina was kind enough to share her journey with us.
Name : Nalina Zuberi
Apprenticeship: Level 3 Early Years Educator
How did you get into doing an apprenticeship?
I began my apprenticeship with a company called Step forward in 2016. I managed to get into this apprenticeship as I was sent a letter from the company advertising the opportunities and was instantly interested. I had been looking to take the apprenticeship route for a while before as I was not enjoying college as much as I thought I would. However, I didn’t chase it up and instead the option came to me. The company sent me this letter as I was on the NCS Challenge programme and this is an additional service they offer; however, anyone could apply.
What motivated you to do an apprenticeship?
My main motivation came from the qualification I knew I would one day want to obtain. In my mind at the time I was adamant I wanted to work with children but, did not know which particular field I was going to prefer. Therefore, instead of jumping straight into university having chosen a field, I decided to try to experience a nursery practitioner’s aspect of working with children.
How would you describe your apprenticeship journey
My apprenticeship journey was rough. I studied Early Years Education with a one day a week class and four days in a nursery setting schedule. At first it was hard to manage, being able to meet deadlines whilst also getting to grips with work, however, it became easier with time as most of the work I had to do for class could be completed using experiences within the work setting. In my day to day activities, I would:
- Plan and implement plans based on the EYFS structure
- Support children’s learning and development
- Attend to basic care needs such as changing nappies
- Work closely with parents and develop my communication skills
- And most importantly, safeguard children
I expected the apprenticeship programme to be a lot like schools especially with leniency and school and sixth form holidays. In contrast, the apprenticeship programme was more work based and taught me the realities of working environment. For example, overtime, holiday leave and the importance of attendance and punctuality.
What did you dislike most about doing an apprenticeship?
What I disliked the most about being on the apprenticeship programme was the pay. I was on £9,000 salary per year but completing the same day to day tasks as those who were perhaps on £15,000 +. At the time I had commitments to things such as car insurance bills and mobile phone bills, which made this salary slightly difficult. I also disliked the fact that the nursery was open during holidays such as summer when all my friends at the time were all on break. This made spending quality time harder but, I quickly learned that this was the working world and looked past it.
What did you like most
In contrast, I really loved working with the children and building friendships with the staff. This was an enjoyable experience and one I would never regret. I also enjoyed being able to learn whilst working as I felt I was not thrown completely into the deep end but, supported through it instead.
Do you believe doing an apprenticeship was beneficial for you
I believe this apprenticeship programme was extremely beneficial. I now have new qualifications under my belt in which I can use to apply for a variety of roles working with children. I also have gained new knowledge which is useful in every aspect of working with infants whether in a nursery setting or not.
I also believe that I can use the experience in later life when I have my own family, to choose an appropriate nursery setting for my children or to even apply the skills and knowledge in my home life.
Now that you have complete an apprenticeship what’s next for you
Now that I have completed the apprenticeship, I have gone on to begin studies at university in Undergraduate Children’s Nursing. Without this apprenticeship I would not have been accepted to university as this qualification added relevant experience which I needed to add to the qualifications I had obtained from college for UCAS points. I also work bank work in a nursery which this apprenticeship qualification enabled me to obtain, as they were specifically looking for level 3 trained applicants.
What would be your advice for someone wanting to do an apprenticeship
My advice would be if you see it and you are interested, seize the opportunity because it has brought me nothing but opportunities ever since I’ve completed it. Plus, you could never have too many qualifications or too much experience.
I also suggest that you mentally prepare yourself for challenges but know in the back of your mind that the challenges won’t be forever, and the ending result is more than worth it.
Opportunity Access would like to thank Nalina for sharing her journey with us.