Olivia's Journey as an Early Years Apprentice Supported by Lauren at Corpus Christi

Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Training apprentice, Olivia Stewart, has been awarded Apprentice of the month for her hard-work and for achieving a distinction in her Early Years Care assessment . We asked Olivia and Lauren a handful of questions to find out more about Olivia's journey into a Early Years Care role.

Can you give us a brief introduction about yourself?

"My name is Olivia Stewart I am 20 years old and have been working at Corpus Christi for just over 2 years now in the nursery early years team. Previously I worked at a private nursery setting in the baby room with some small experience going throughout the older ages. I have worked in Early years since leaving school at the age of 16 and have continued to do so ever since. I have now completed my Level 2 and 3 with Chamber Training and hope to continue to progress my skills."

How are you finding it working at Corpus Christi?

"I thoroughly enjoy my time and experience working at Corpus and have met some amazing colleagues and even formed some great friendships where I have been supported with my wellbeing and workload. Working at a school with such great values and team members has been such a positive experience. I have always felt welcomed from the moment I started and have been made to feel so comfortable and supported. I always feel like I'm challenged and made to feel as though I belong in the team. I have found so much confidence whilst working at the school and feel as though my knowledge and skills have hugely grown. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to work with and alongside some amazing early years team members and learn from them. I have also had many opportunities for professional development. I also have had a huge show of support from my mangers Jade and Lauren and feel very privileged to have worked with them and be mentored. "

How did you find your transition from a Level 2 to Level 3 Early Years Care apprenticeship?

"I found the transition from level 2 to 3 a bit of a jump due to the workload and detail of the assignments. I would definitely say that without doing my level 2 I would have found it much harder. Although I did think the work slightly got more difficult, I was supported throughout greatly by Anne and Angela. "

What advice would you give to others who are doing an Early Years Care apprenticeship? How can others achieve a distinction?

"Advice I would give would to be is to always ask for support when you feel you need it, there is no question too silly to ask. Another piece of advice would be to always start your assignments as soon as you get them and to start them weekly. I think if you have confidence in yourself and a passion for Early years then you will find the course much easier. I found relating your practice to the work also helps you to understand it a lot easier. My advice to help you achieve a distinction is to again relate your work to practice and how your setting works. I personally found some of the assignments hard and would only aim for a pass, however what I came to learn was with experience once you start relating your own practice and research and add on the merit and the distinction work after. The best advice would definitely to be able to have a supportive team around you and to believe in yourself."

Interviewing Olivia's Mentor Lauren

Can you tell us about yourself and your role at Corpus Christi?

"My name is Lauren and I am the Assistant Principal and Early Years Lead at Corpus Christi. I have a passion for teaching Early Years and have been and EY teacher for seven years. During this time, I have supported and mentored many trainees and at Corpus Christi we support many apprentices and actively encourage staff to pursue further training and education to develop strong practitioners. I also completed a level three in Early Childhood Studies at college and from that went on to do my teaching qualification, so I am better able to support apprentices, having been on that journey myself."

Can you tell us how you have supported Olivia throughout her apprenticeship?

"Olivia joined us two years ago, when she was finishing her Level 2. She was a good practitioner when she joined us but has continued to grow and develop, going from strength to strength during her time with us and whilst undertaking her Level 3. When Olivia first started, I met with her fortnightly to discuss small and achievable goals that would continue to support and challenge her. Olivia is part of my Early Years team and so she is part of weekly phase meetings and takes part in relevant CPD. Olivia is open and honest about the things she can do well but also things she is unsure of, and she is not afraid to ask for support from either myself or the wider team."

What do you think has been the greatest benefit for Olivia by doing an apprenticeship? What skills has she developed?

"Olivia has had years of hands on, practical experience in the Early Years that have built a solid foundation for her to become the practitioner that she now is. She has a good understand of pedagogy and theory and can apply this to support her in the classroom. Initially when Olivia joined the Nursery, she wasn’t confident with her behaviour management, but she can now manage behaviour well and understands the need for certain strategies such as positive reinforcement. Overtime, Olivia has been exposed to the need for formative and summative assessment and has worked with the team to analyse data to address next steps. Overall, Olivia has become a well-rounded, skilled and confident experience who has the practical experience and knowledge to go on to achieve great things in the Early Years sector."

"Olivia really benefited from being able to attend college face-to-face to keep that consistency and support. It was great for her to have access to that network, especially with her assignments. A few apprentices at our school who have done an online only apprenticeship have found it more difficult and have not been as successful."

If you are looking to find out more about Early Years Care apprenticeships, then contact 024 76231122 or email enquiries@cw-chambertraining.co.uk,