100 in 100 campaign: Nursery apprenticeships provide post-Covid career path for those looking to support the next generation

TWO young apprentices are helping a family-run nursery in Portsmouth get back to full capacity.

Promoted by Shaping Portsmouth
Friday, 19th March 2021, 12:00 am

Taylor Brewster and Shia Degurchy are the latest recruits to share their stories as part of the 100 in 100 campaign, which aims to create 100 opportunities for young people in the Portsmouth area in 100 days.

The citywide campaign, supported by The News and a number of key agencies and local training providers, continues to gather momentum by highlighting the range of new training and funding opportunities available to help employers tackle unemployment and support young people from the city into new careers.

Leading up to Christmas, Taylor Brewster was working part-time in retail and she wasn’t sure where her next professional steps would be. Fast forward three months and she’s in her dream role with a clear pathway to the career she has always wanted.

Taylor Brewster, Rob Mooney and Claudine Smith of Puddleduck Nursery

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The 20-year-old, from North End, said: ‘If I am honest I was a bit lost after trying an apprenticeship when I was 16 and leaving, I had fallen into a part-time job in order to earn some money and I wasn’t sure what to do next. I had always wanted to work in childcare and when I saw the apprenticeship at Puddleduck Nursery online I applied straight away.

‘I’m delighted to have finally found a role where I can make a difference, in my first few weeks I have learnt how to engage with children, plan activities and implement existing environments. I am really looking forward to continually applying what I am learning through the apprenticeship in my role.

‘Following the completion of my Level 2 Early Years Practitioner Apprenticeship I hope to move on to the Level 3 with Puddleduck.’

Shia Degurchy of Puddleduck Nursery

Taylor’s colleague, Shia Degurchy, knew that she wanted to go to university to study midwifery, but she wanted to make sure that she had some sector specific experience first.

The 19-year-old, from Southsea, said: ‘Although I had my mind set on going to uni, I wanted to make sure that I had some experience and actually enjoyed the role first.

‘The apprenticeship with Puddleduck offered me the perfect opportunity to develop both my professional and academic skills. I have absolutely loved every second of the job so far.’

Rob Mooney, owner of Puddleduck Nursery, which is in Priory Crescent, Milton, feels that apprenticeships are now a critical part of the business’s organisational structure.

He said: ‘The successful implementation of apprenticeships has allowed us to develop a ‘grow your own’ staffing model with almost all of our apprentices having moved on to full-time employment with Puddleduck.

‘The financial incentives offered by the government have really helped us to invest in the apprentices and we were delighted to be able to offer positions to both Taylor and Shia as a result.

‘As an employer in a sector where the correct level of staffing is critical, we are delighted to be working with the Portsmouth College Apprenticeship Education team.

‘They always go out of their way to find a delivery model that works for us and the level of training is great. We are just beginning to see the green shoots of recovery and our new team of apprentices will play a huge role in Puddleduck getting back to full capacity, we are delighted to have Taylor and Shia on board for the journey.’

For more information go to shapingportsmouth.co.uk - or to register an interest e-mail [email protected]

Alternatively go to solentapprenticeshiphub.com

Roll of honour

We're off to a great start with our 100 in 100 campaign - just three weeks after it was launched, 11 employers in the Portsmouth area have already committed to taking on a total of 14 apprentices. Could you join them? For more information, go to shapingportsmouth.co.uk or to register an interest, e-mail [email protected]

Here's our roll of honour so far:

Really B2B - marketing agency based at Lakeside, North Harbour

Portsmouth Diocese - Church of England area covering 139 parishes

STS Defence - technology and engineering business based in Gosport

Eaton Aerospace - aerospace company based in Bedhampton

Transalis - business solutions company based in Portsmouth

Portsmouth Water - utility company responsible for water supply and distribution

Morris Crocker - chartered accountants based in Havant

Highbury College - further education college in Cosham

Tax Assist - accountancy firm in Portsmouth

Yellow Strawberry - hairdressing salon in Hayling Island

*Apprenticeships via training provider Highbury College

South Western Railway – train operating company that runs services in south west London and southern counties of England and on the Isle of Wight

*Apprenticeships via training provider Fareham College

100 in 100 Partners

Solent Apprenticeship Hub

Hub manager Jodi Fair said: ‘We are thrilled to be playing a part in 100 in 100 and have confidence that this will be beneficial, not only to the individuals who are beginning their career journeys, but also the employers that will be introducing new, skilled employees into their workforce.’

Portsmouth City Council

Cabinet member for culture, leisure and economic development and deputy leader Steve Pitt said: ‘The 100 in 100 campaign is a great opportunity to celebrate the important work that is undertaken across the city and the positive steps it takes towards recovery. Collaboration between our incredible businesses and the skills providers who support them is a powerful tool for growth. As a council we are committed to raising aspirations and skills development. That's why we're supporting this campaign, the business growth and the entrepreneurial spirit Portsmouth is known for.’

Fareham College

College principal and CEO Andrew Kaye said: ‘We are delighted to be supporting this initiative encouraging employers to offer new and existing staff and young adults the opportunity to take their first step on to the career ladder, or progress further in their chosen career. Fareham College’s focus has always been to equip its learners with the knowledge, skills and experience to achieve their ambitions and we look forward to enabling as many people as possible to gain valuable industry experience to set them on the path of their chosen career, as well as aiding the local economy and assisting business recovery in the region.’

Highbury College, Portsmouth

Craig Mincher, commercial director, said: 'The 100 in 100 campaign comes at a crucial time for both individuals and businesses in Portsmouth. Highbury College are proud to play a part in a campaign that will offer such hope and tangible outcomes for both local employers and adults of the city.'

Havant and South Downs College

Director for business growth and innovation Aaron Butson said: ‘Everything we do at HSDC is to realise the ambitions of our community and we fully support Shaping Portsmouth and partners in the 100 in 100 campaign. With everyone working together to realise this ambition, we will all have a tremendous impact supporting young people into work and supporting others in our community regain employment and upskilling opportunities.'

Portsmouth College

Vice principal Tom Lloyd said: ‘Portsmouth College is delighted to be able to play a role in the 100 in 100 campaign. Collaboration is critical during a crisis and this project is a fantastic example of employers, training providers and agencies from across the city coming together to promote opportunities and support local people back into employment.’

University of Portsmouth

Claire Middleton, degree apprenticeship manager, said: ‘100 in 100 is a great opportunity to highlight all the wonderful new apprentices and employers that we have in the city and to show the commitment they are making in the road to recovery post-Covid. Collaborating with partners is the best way to raise awareness of apprenticeships at all levels and show the diversity of courses, employers and apprentices that are available in our community.'

Shaping Portsmouth

Chief executive officer Stef Nienaltowski said: ‘Two years ago, we launched our Roadmap to a Career vision and this programme is yet another key part of that. No matter what your age, your career options should not be a hidden secret but something you can get access to and experience readily. This programme aims to give our people that opportunity and, whilst some of the placements are age-limited, some are not. Opportunity is for everyone and Shaping and our partners aim to make that happen with this and following programmes.'

Placement types available as part of the 100 in 100 initiative

Apprenticeships – combine practical training in a job with study. As an apprentice you'll be an employee earning a wage and getting holiday pay. Work alongside experienced staff and gain job-specific skills.

Traineeships – a course with work experience that gets you ready for work or an apprenticeship. It can last from six weeks up to one year, though most traineeships last for less than six months. You can apply if you're eligible to work in England, unemployed and have little or no work experience.

T-level paid placements – new courses which follow GCSEs and are equivalent to three A-levels. These two-year courses, which launched in September 2020, have been developed in collaboration with employers and businesses so that the content meets the needs of industry and prepares students for work, further training or study. T-levels offer students a mixture of classroom learning and 'on-the-job' experience during an industry placement of at least 315 hours (approximately 45 days).

Internships – a temporary position with an emphasis on on-the-job training rather than merely employment. Can be paid or unpaid.

Work experience (fewer than 70 hours) – enables young, unemployed people to volunteer for placements lasting between two and eight weeks.

Kickstarters – the government's Kickstart Scheme provides funding to create new job placements for 16 to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long-term unemployment.