Little Ones Budlake is situated in a lovely rural area on the outskirts of Exeter, between Cullompton and Broadclyst. With only up to 29 children per session, the nursery provides personalised care to meet the needs of children and babies under the age of five. We caught up with Cat Caller, Nursery Manager, to find out about the business and how hiring apprentices has benefitted it.
Cat has been at Little Ones for five years, growing the nursery from just 21 children when she first started to 53 now on the books. “This place is my baby. It’s great to see the growth. When I first started, our customers were localised, however people are now coming from further afield thanks to word of mouth. We’re being recommended in baby and toddler groups, so people are willing to make the journey”.
Cat herself started out as an apprentice, working her way up to management, and finally completing a child care degree on the job – so she understands the value of apprenticeships. “We actually expect less of university students compared to apprentices, as they have the theory but not the practice. Apprentices gain hands on experience dealing with the children and so learn behaviour management and how to deal with unpredictable circumstances. They also have a deeper understanding of how everything you say or do will impact the child and their day”.
“There are definitely more pros than cons to hiring an apprentice. Apprentices are raised by qualified and experienced members of staff to fit in with the company. The world of work is so different to school – the apprentices are eager to learn, and can grow and adapt with the business. I work hard so I expect my apprentices to work hard too, but that means when they leave they’ll be the best and deliver excellent levels of care to the children they look after. We’re hoping to hire a second apprentice soon”.
Yasmin Smith is currently working on her Level 2 Child Care apprenticeship at Little Ones Budlake through Skills Group. Yasmin comments, “I had the chance to go to college and sit in a classroom to study, however I preferred to do an apprenticeship as they provide real working experience and the chance to spend time every day with the children. Through the apprenticeship, I’ve discovered that every child is different”.
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!
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!
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
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.
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!