Ensuring skills development and staff retention through apprenticeships
The University of South Wales Child Care Services Department is a 70-place setting, registered with the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales and as an educational early years provider. The provision consists of a day nursery and holiday scheme, employing 21 staff at its Playcentre at Treforest.
While all staff held a Level 3 Child Care qualification when they were employed, the department knew that some were no longer compliant when a new qualification framework was introduced, even though they had continued to train.
A staff development programme was introduced after consultation and many staff members chose to update their older Level 3 qualifications with learning provider TSW Training Ltd, who deliver the department’s apprenticeship programme.
This commitment to staff training and development has been recognised by the department being shortlisted for the Small Employer of the Year Award at this year’s Apprenticeship Awards Cymru, which take place at Venue Cymru, Llandudno on October 20.
Jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), the prestigious awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of individuals, employers and learning providers who have excelled in contributing to the development of the Welsh Government’s Traineeships, Jobs Growth Wales and Apprenticeship programmes.
Funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund, the awards are sponsored by Pearson PLC and supported by media partner, Media Wales.
“As staff retention is high, it is important to recognise the potential in staff who are not currently working in a senior role,” said Karen Parker, Child Care Services manager. “This is achieved through motivating them and helping them gain skills to help further their career path and giving them the tools and qualifications to apply for a senior role if it becomes available within the setting.”
Over the past five years, 16 staff have been engaged in various apprenticeship programmes and over the past two years, since the current programme has been running, four apprentices have completed training.
“The programme has encouraged staff to develop aspects of nursery life which they might not have felt confident undertaking,” added Karen.
Wales’ Minister for Skills and Science Julie James congratulated the department and the other 32 shortlisted award finalists. “We are proud to be delivering one of the most successful apprenticeship programmes in Europe with success rates in Wales remaining well above 80 per cent,” she said.
“Developing skilled people is vital for our economy. We have some truly exceptional apprentices here in Wales and the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru provide a perfect platform for us to celebrate their hard work and achievements. Equally important are the learning providers and employers who go the extra mile to support their apprentices.”