An apprenticeship of your dreams

Published: 26 Feb 2018

An apprenticeship of your dreams

Busy Bees recruitment manager Jenna Birkinshaw shares the qualities she looks for when considering a candidate and offers her top tips to help you land your dream apprenticeship placement.

So, you’ve decided that a career in childcare is the right vocation for you, but how do you develop your skills while securing a job, gaining valuable experience and earning a wage? An apprenticeship can offer paid on-the-job experience, working alongside experienced professionals and resulting in a recognised qualification. There are lots of great opportunities within the industry, waiting to be grabbed with both hands by the right candidate.

Here are a few tips to help you land the perfect apprenticeship placement for you.

Do your homework

Most childcare settings will offer an apprenticeship programme, especially the larger childcare providers, but there are some key points to consider before deciding on applying for a placement. Research settings within your area to make sure it offers the right experience for you. You should consider;

Which training provider delivers the training?

The nursery setting will work with a training provider to ensure they are following the standards set out by the awarding body. The provider will also support you with the necessary guidance and documents, assign you a mentor, and oversee your progress to make sure you’re on the right track.

Do they provide quality childcare?      

You need to learn from the best to become the best childcare practitioner you can be and deliver quality care to children. Look into the quality of care the setting provides by reading its latest Ofsted report, discovering what people are saying about it on social media and by talking to parents from the local area.  

Search for vacancies

If you have a specific setting in mind, contact the nursery to enquire about any apprenticeship vacancies they may have.

Alternatively search for vacancies on a credible training providers website or the national apprenticeship service website.

First impressions matter

Create a CV and application form that is memorable (for the right reasons) by ensuring you tailor it to the specifications outlined in the vacancy. At Busy Bees, we would expect to see a candidate’s relevant experience and qualifications, with correct spelling and grammar, across a maximum of two pages.

If you secure an interview, be on time, presentable, polite and relax. Just be yourself and let your enthusiasm for the role shine through.

Be prepared

An interview is your chance to demonstrate that you know your stuff and are well-informed about the setting. We are always really impressed when a candidate has done their research and found out as much as they can about us. Consider: how long the setting has been running, what is its story, who are the founders, how many children does it cater for, the services they offer, any new developments and who are the key members of staff.

Take a look at their website and social media platforms and search Google to see if they have been in the news lately with any exciting stories.  

It’s also important to understand the role that you are applying for, so make sure you read the job description and responsibilities and make references to them in your interview. 

A winning attitude

Busy Bees recruits on personalities. We want to see people that are passionate about improving outcomes for children and that we feel will rise to the daily challenges of caring for and educating young children.

Be confident, make eye contact with your interviewer and don’t forget to smile. Working in childcare requires bags of enthusiasm and energy (you have to work hard to keep up with young children!), so make sure this comes across in your interview.

Ask for feedback

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, things may not go our way and we lose out to a more experienced candidate on the day. But don’t dwell on the negative. Pick yourself up and don’t be afraid to ask for feedback so you can correct any mistakes for next time.

Childcare offers lots of fantastic career opportunities for the right individual, and the perfect placement for you is just around the corner.

  • As Recruitment Manager at the UK’s leading childcare nursery provider, Busy Bees, Jenna Birkinshaw has a talent for spotting passionate, dedicated individuals and enrolling them onto Busy Bees’ apprenticeship programme. The programme has been running for 15 years and currently provides over 344 placements throughout its 344 settings
  • For more information on careers at Busy Bees visit or check out Busy Bees’ training opportunities at


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