Employer Focus: Bambinos

Bambinos is a childcare institution in Plymouth. Bambinos first opened its doors in Woolwell in 1995 and the group now has four successful nurseries in the City Centre, Plymstock, Woolwell and Tavistock. The team at the nurseries are committed to delivering outstanding levels of care to all the children who attend, proving a safe, nurturing and stimulating environment to encourage positive development.

The Bambinos approach is unique – putting the children first above all else, and at the same time, developing a healthy and happy staff. As a result, Bambinos has recently won the Best Nursery Group Award at the National Nursery Recognition Awards – a fantastic achievement, beating rigorous competition from around the country.

We caught up with Sara Richards, Director at Bambinos, to find out more about the awards and how apprenticeships work for the business. Sara is also joined on the Management Team by Jemma Honey, Chief Executive Officer, Nicola James, Lead Senior Manager, and Lynsey Carroll, Senior Manager.

“The past 12 months have been very successful for us as a company. For the National Nursery Recognition Awards, we had to submit a detailed application with photos and supporting evidence including questionnaires from parents. Judges then selected finalists and those shortlisted went to a public vote to choose the winner. Our competition included large, national nursery groups and so we were delighted to be voted as the winner.

“We’ve also won awards previously, including Most Outstanding Childcare Provider in the LUX Awards which are voted for by parents and families – which just shows the level of trust and high regard they have for us. We have also been included in the Parliamentary Review, which led to our comments on the industry being read out in Parliament.

“Our staff, including our apprentices, are essential to providing the high level of care we give to the children and our business success. We appreciate what they do and therefore we look after them. We invest in their training to ensure they maximise their skills, and their well-being is also of great importance. We give them well-being hampers to help them rejuvenate, and all our female staff are allowed time off to have a cervical smear test.

“As our main shareholder, Jiayi Education Investment Group, is based in China, there are now additional opportunities for staff to travel to China to further enhance their learning and development.

“We value our apprentices. We give them varied experiences, outstanding training opportunities and a supportive working environment. At the end of their apprenticeship, as we’ve invested so much into them, we ideally want to keep them on as qualified members of our team. It is also rewarding to watch them grow and develop; some of our apprentices have been here for years so we’ve not only seen them become exceptional childcare workers, but have also experienced their life events such as weddings.

“When we hire apprentices, we first give them an intensive interview which covers how they might react in different scenarios and safeguarding questions. We also ask for multiple references and a DBS check. When they start with us, we give them a two week induction process and put them on a twelve week probation period; this allows both us and the apprentice enough time to ensure we are a good fit for each other!

“We have a great relationship with Skills Group; they are flexible to our business needs and communication is brilliant. Our Skills Group Assessor, Gemma, is part of the furniture! She trains the apprentices well and fits in seamlessly with the team here.”

Pictured: Jemma Honey, Chief Executive Officer at Bambinos

I just wanted to say the biggest thank you to Vanessa, my trainer. You have made my journey so much easier, I don’t know what I would have done without you. You have been amazing and helped me to achieve my qualification. You’ve guided me through every step of the way, I really appreciate it, Vanessa, you have been my rock.

Katie Shorland, Level 2 Hairdressing

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