It can be very confusing trying to understand the complicated jigsaw of different apprenticeships and qualifications available in the field of work with children and young people.

This post aims to shed some light on the different options.

Children and young people’s workforce apprenticeships

Children and young people's workforce apprenticeships

 

Training opportunities

Workers in this area make sure children are looked after, kept active, happy and nourished. They also help children develop social and practical skills.

The exact nature of your job role will depend on your employer. The intermediate level apprenticeship is for those working under supervision such as a nursery assistant or playgroup assistant working with children under 5.

The advanced level apprenticeship is for those who work on their own initiative: planning and organising their own work and/or supervising others eg a nursery nurse, playgroup leader or a childminder working in their own home.

Levels available

Intermediate level apprenticeship (level 2)

You can train in roles like:

  • early years worker or assistant
  • care worker or assistant
  • assistant youth support and community worker

Qualification: Level 2 Certificate for the Children and Young People’s Workforce

Advanced level apprenticeship (level 3)

You can train in roles like:

  • nursery worker or supervisor
  • nursery nurse or nursery teaching assistant

Qualification:
Level 3 Early Years Educator or
Level 3 Diploma for the Children and Young People’s Workforce or
Level 3 Diploma for Residential Childcare

GCSE Requirements

The level 3 Early Years Educator (EYE) is a new role that was introduced in 2013.  It is intended to improve the quality of people working in early years below graduate level. Early years apprentices are required to have at least a grade C in English and maths on entry or to gain these qualifications during their training.  Because 52 per cent of existing Level 2 staff do not hold maths and English GCSEs at the required level this new rule is causing big problems in terms of recruitment and progression.

According to a recent workforce survey, 43 per cent of nurseries are unable to find apprentices with the right level of qualifications. This has resulted in employers having to invest more in staff development, due to a decrease in local authority support. For example, the Busy Bees chain runs a training academy that offers a variety of traineeships, apprenticeships and short courses.

School leaver Opportunities

Having the required GCSE grades (or the ability to gain these) is not the only problem for school leavers. Another hurdle is the fact that most employers prefer new entrants to be at least 18 and to have some experience of childcare.  For this reason, many FE colleges provide full time courses which provide the relevant learning combined with the opportunity to gain structured work experience and hence develop the maturity of learners.

While this is a good thing it does add an extra complication for young people wanting to move on from college to an apprenticeship. Due to complicated and restrictive apprenticeship funding rules it can sometimes be difficult to make this move if the qualification studied at college is similar to the one provided under the apprenticeship. This problem occurs mainly for students who have done a level 2 college course and want to do an intermediate apprenticeship at the same level but it might also cause difficulties for students who have completed a level 3 full time course and now want to start on an apprenticeship.

Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS)

The introduction of Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS) in 2013 was an attempt to create a graduate-led workforce and builds on the similar role of Early Years Professional launched in 2007.

EYTS is considered the equivalent of Qualified Teacher Status, but does not bring equivalent pay or allow holders to work in maintained primary schools beyond reception class. There are four routes into EYTS, lasting from three months to three years, depending on participants’ existing experience and qualifications. Some routes come with bursaries of up to £9,000 (and grants of up to £7,000 to cover course fees) from the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL).

In 2014 the NCTL introduced a School Direct programme for early years initial teacher training. Based on the existing School Direct scheme for schools, the programme brings together groups of employers and trainers to deliver EYTS training.

In 2013, Teach First also introduced an early years training scheme. Teach First is a a fast-track programme aiming to get high-calibre graduates into teaching, Applicants to the competitive programme must have a degree at 2:1 or above and undergo an intensive six-week summer school. They then start working at a school or nursery while studying for their PGCE after one year, and Qualified Teacher Status after two.

Learning support apprenticeships

 

Learning support apprenticeships SEN SEND disability

 

Training opportunities

This apprenticeship covers the specialised training you need to help support and assist students of any age who have difficulty with learning. It includes general and specialist learning support roles relating to disabled learners, deaf learners and learners who need help with literacy, language and
numeracy. It relates to staff working in non-school settings such as further education, skills and lifelong learning classes. Special needs assistants in schools are covered by the next section – Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools.

Levels available

This is an advanced level apprenticeship (level 3)

You can train in roles like:

  • learning support practitioner (general)
  • learning support practitioner (literacy, language and numeracy)
  • learning support practitioner (disabled learners)
  • learning support practitioner (communication for deaf learners)

Qualification:
Level 3 Certificate in Learning Support Practitioners or
Level 3 Certificate in Supporting Literacy, Language and Numeracy Learning or
Level 3 Certificate in Supporting Disabled Learners or
Level 3 Certificate in Communication Support for Deaf Learners

 

Supporting teaching and learning in schools apprenticeships

 

Teaching assistant apprenticeships

 

Training opportunities

This apprenticeship trains you to provide support in the classroom. Teaching assistants (TAs) carry out duties like lesson preparation, and work with small groups or individuals.

As an apprentice, you’ll work under the close supervision of a class teacher. Your duties will vary depending on how the teachers you work with plan their lessons but could include:

  • supervising arts and crafts activities
  • helping with outings
  • reading to the class

The advanced level apprenticeship adds more responsibility to the role. You could help plan, carry out and evaluate a wide range of learning activities. You’ll work both alongside the teacher to support classroom activities, and alone with individuals or groups of students.

Sometimes TAs have a particular specialism – for example, they may speak an additional language (which is especially useful when some pupils in the class have that language as their first language).

In a secondary school, TAs usually work with pupils who have learning difficulties or a disability.

TAs can go on to develop their career and become a higher level teaching assistant (HLTA). This requires a college course, and leads to extended duties which may include taking lessons during a teacher’s absence.

Levels available

Intermediate level apprenticeship (level 2)

You can train in roles like:

  • teaching assistant
  • classroom assistant
  • learning support assistant
  • special needs assistant

Qualification:  Level 2 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools

Advanced level apprenticeship (level 3)

You can train in roles like:

  • teaching/classroom/learning support assistant/special needs assistant
  • behaviour support assistant/coordinator
  • pastoral/welfare support assistant
  • bilingual support assistant
  • team leader

Qualification:  Level 3 Diploma in Specialist Support for Teaching and Learning in Schools

 

Playwork apprenticeships

 

Playwork apprenticeships

 

Training opportunities

As an intermediate level apprentice you could work as an assistant play worker or play centre assistant, working under supervision of the playworker in charge and contributing to the organisation and facilitation of play opportunities.

On the advanced level apprenticeship you could work as a playworker or senior playworker, responsible for:

  • supervising the team in the play setting
  • ensuring that policies and procedures are followed
  • ensuring that a range of play opportunities are provided

Levels available

Intermediate level apprenticeship (level 2)

You can train in roles like:

  • assistant playworker
  • play centre assistant

Qualification:  Level 2 Diploma in Playwork (NVQ)

Advanced level apprenticeship (level 3)

You can train in roles like:

  • playworker
  • senior playworker

Qualification: Level 3 Diploma in Playwork (NVQ)

 

Youth work apprenticeships

Youth work apprenticeships

Training opportunities

This is about providing young people with challenges and new experiences – allowing them to be creative, active and have fun.  Every young person has a unique situation so you could be doing all sorts, such as:

  • offering counselling and support
  • developing projects that tackle issues
  • organising activities like sports and drama

You’ll need to come up with creative ways to reach young people and be able to build relationships with them. There’s an administrative side to youth work too. You might:

  • help manage volunteers or part-time staff
  • help apply for grants
  • keep records of your work
  • network with other professionals including social workers, teachers and probation officers

At the end of your apprenticeship you’ll be a youth support worker – in a good position to take the next step in your career as a youth worker, with qualifications that most employers will support you in doing on a part-time basis.

Levels available

Intermediate level apprenticeship (level 2)

You can train as an assistant youth support worker.

Qualification: Level 2 Certificate in Youth Work Practice (QCF)

Advanced level apprenticeship (level 3)

You can train as a youth support worker.

Qualification:  Level 3 Diploma in Youth Work Practice (QCF)

Health and social care apprenticeships

 

Health and social care apprenticeships

 

Training opportunities

This apprenticeship covers a wide range of job roles on two pathways: the adult social care pathway and the health care pathway. This could mean working in the NHS, the private sector, local authorities or in the voluntary sector.  It is important to note that the majority of roles will involve supporting adults.  Some apprenticeships involving work with children will appear from time to time in the health care field but in most cases further education and training to degree level would be required.

Adult Social Care

As a care assistant you’ll be helping people with a particular need such as the disabled, the elderly or people with learning disabilities in their everyday life. This type of care usually takes place in the home, in care homes or in the community. It can include anything from helping people get dressed to transporting them to and from a residential home or taking them shopping.

Health Care

You could work in hospitals, the community, hospices or private clinics as a healthcare support worker or a healthcare assistant. You could be supporting doctors and nurses or helping patients in hospital wards or their homes by serving food and making and changing beds.

Levels available

Intermediate level apprenticeship (level 2)

You can train in roles like:

  • healthcare support worker
  • healthcare assistant
  • care assistant
  • personal assistant
  • relief team worker
  • night care assistant
  • support worker: supported living
  • key workers in residential, domiciliary or day services
  • home care support worker
  • substance misuse worker
  • mental health support or outreach worker
  • re-enablement worker

Qualification:  The Level 2 Diploma in Health and Social Care

Advanced level apprenticeship (level 3)

You can train in roles like:

  • senior healthcare support worker
  • senior healthcare assistant
  • care officer
  • care supervisor
  • senior care worker
  • supervising care worker
  • senior support worker
  • relief team leader
  • social work assistant
  • social services officer
  • outreach development worker
  • community support worker
  • community outreach worker
  • community development worker
  • family support worker
  • personal assistant

Qualification: The Level 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care

Completion of the advanced apprenticeship will stand you in good stead for progression onto higher education in subjects like nursing or midwifery or management roles in care homes.