Employer Focus: Pixieland Day Nurseries

“We’re reaching our 35th anniversary this year, and the business has grown massively over that time. We now have four nurseries throughout Plymouth and Cornwall and work with around 600 families. Many of our Managers started out as apprentices themselves so we understand the value of apprenticeships in the industry”.

We caught up with Tracy Solomon, Business Development Executive at Pixieland Stoke, to find out more about the nursery and the benefits of hiring apprentices. The team at Pixieland is dedicated to making sure children are happy, safe, secure and stimulated at nurseries in Stoke, Mannamead, Saltash and HMS Drake.

“At Stoke we have around 30 staff, including 10 apprentices. The staff are highly qualified including Level 2 up to Degree and Early Years Professionals. The staff are keen to support apprentices to learn and achieve their qualifications and help them gain relevant skills to give them the experience to benefit their career. The apprenticeship route is great as it gives learners so much hands-on experience – especially compared to those who come from a college and only have the theoretical knowledge.

“When we recruit apprentices, we look for someone who is keen to learn and energetic and also has good communication skills. It’s also important that they are not self-conscious as you can’t take yourself too seriously when working with children! My advice to other nurseries who are thinking about hiring apprentices would be to find out why they want to do the job and their future career aspirations.

“We have a great relationship with Skills Group and have worked with the company for around 6 years. The team is very helpful and supportive, and the vast majority of our apprentices now train through them.

“We will definitely continue to hire apprentices in the future!”

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