Employer Focus: Humpty Dumpty Child Care, Dartington

Humpty Dumpty Dartington is a lovely, friendly nursery, tucked away in a peaceful location next to woodland and a stream – the perfect place for children to spend their day. The nursery is part of a family-owned group of children’s day nurseries in South West Devon, with locations in Dartington, Dartmouth and Newton Abbot. We had a chat with Senior Nursery Manager, Wendy Edmunds, to discuss what hiring apprentices means to the business.

Wendy says that the nursery started hiring apprentices as “We felt that it was the way people were coming into the sector more and more. We had a meeting with Skills Group to discuss the management of the apprenticeship process. We have had a good working relationship with the team since, and have a lovely rapport with our Skills Group Assessor Gemma. We can contact her about anything and work closely in partnership with her.

“The good thing about apprenticeships is that it allows us to embed our values and practices into the apprentices so that they can grow with the business. My top tip for anyone else wanting to hire an apprentice would be to ensure you spend time choosing the right person to invest in. We have a rigorous recruitment process, including an initial interview with Skills Group, followed by an interview with us and then a trial session. It is important to see how the apprentice would interact with the children, as much of Child Care is instinctive; some people just have the natural ability to engage with children”.

Josie Schofield is currently working on her Level 3 Child Care apprenticeship at Humpty Dumpty through Skills Group. Josie says, ““I’ve been there for two years now – the first year working towards my Level 2 and I’m now onto my Level 3. My day to day tasks include caring for the children, helping to set out activities, planning their daily routines, and updating parents. My favourite part of the job is playing and interacting with the children. I’m really attached to them, as well as their families, and it’s rewarding to see them develop and grow”.

Wendy comments, “Josie is an excellent apprentice. She is enthusiastic, keen to develop her skills and a good team player.

“Hiring an apprentice has absolutely helped our business. We have received nothing but positive feedback from both colleagues and the parents Josie works with, and it is rewarding to watch someone grow with the business. I would also recommend Skills Group to other employers who are thinking of hiring an apprentice. We are actually in the process of advertising for another apprentice to start soon!”

I always struggled in school as I wasn’t very academic, so knew learning on the job would be a better option for me. I would find it difficult to get up for 9am but now I wake up and look forward to my day. I wanted to try a hair apprenticeship as I’ve always been interested in hairdressing, and by the end of the first week, I already loved it!

Jaimee Benson, Level 2 Hairdressing

I have developed a range of new skills through work including the technical, industry skills required for the job, to personal development such as ensuring I am always on time. The biggest change since leaving school is adjusting to the independence you gain from earning a salary. My advice to anyone thinking of doing an apprenticeship would be find what you like doing, and go for it!

Will Birch, Level 2 Bricklaying

Since starting the apprenticeship, I’ve become far more confident. In a classroom, you only interact with your classmates, but through working you develop your people skills as you interact with customers on a daily basis. At school, you are closely monitored and parented, however I am now more independent and feel grown up

Sam Collard, Level 2 Light Vehicle and Maintenance Repair

The most important thing I’ve learnt since leaving school is that there are other routes to success than just academia. I failed my GCSEs, as I never suited the school environment. Now though, I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship as I’ve discovered I learn more through hands-on practice.

Ben Freeman, Level 2 Carpentry

I would just like to thank you and your team for all the amazing work they do, you have provided me with the most invaluable experience which has helped to pave the way of my future. The work you do for young people is incredible!

Luke Kowalski, Teaching Assistant and former apprentice at Sir Robert Gefferys School