Jenine focused on delivering the best care at Little Inspirations nurseries
To say Jenine Gill leads by example would be an understatement. The owner of Little Inspirations nurseries, with 55 staff under her guidance as well as being a mum of two, has herself completed high-level management and childcare training.
While her three nurseries at Llantrisant, Rhydyfelin and Barry are a full time management job, Jenine still makes time to be hands on.
“Working with the children keeps me grounded,” she said. “It also helps me appreciate what my team has to deliver and the challenges they face. At Little Inspirations staff are encouraged to learn throughout their careers to ensure that our children get best care and that we perform at the highest level.”
Her commitment to training and developing her team has been recognised as Little Inspirations is one of three finalists in the running to become VQ (Vocational Qualification) Employer of the Year at the showpiece awards ceremony on June 9 at St David’s Hotel, Cardiff.
Organised by the Welsh Government’s Department for Education and Skills (DfES), the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW) and CollegesWales, the VQ Awards help to showcase individuals and organisations that have raised the standard of the services they offer as a result of vocational qualifications.
The awards, which are part funded by the European Social Fund, are now in their eighth year and coincide with VQ Day – a UK-wide celebration of vocational qualifications for students, teachers, training providers and employers – which is held on June 10.
Founded in 2003, the company has, for the past eight years, worked with training provider Educ8 Ltd who attend the nurseries every two or three weeks to deliver courses in customer care, child care, essential skills, playwork and management training.
Little Inspirations provides its apprentices with IT equipment, space to work and literacy resources such as text books and policy documents. Each site has a designated student representative who is the link between the apprentices and Educ8 assessors. As part of an outreach programme, apprentices go into the community to practise interview skills and talk in schools about careers in childcare.
More than 50 Little Inspirations staff have been through training with Educ8 which has led to a high level of continuity and very low staff turnover. The apprenticeship programmes are funded by the Welsh Government with European Social Fund support.
“All our training is measured and as staff complete programmes we look for them to bring three ideas back into the nursery. Our commitment to training helps us retain and value staff who in return are motivated to learn and develop within the business,” said Jenine.
Chloe Morgan, from Educ8, said education and further learning were a core part of Jenine’s business.
The other VQ Employer of the Year finalists are food manufacturer Dailycer UK from Deeside and professional hair salon, Spirit Hair Team in Ystrad Mynach. The award recognises employers who promote the value of vocational qualifications in the workplace and make a real contribution, relative to their size, to improving skills and national competitiveness.
Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Julie James congratulated the inspirational finalists and also praised all the employers who had entered the VQ Awards this year.
“A VQ Award is more than just an award; it’s a symbol of dedication towards your chosen profession,” she said. “Professional and personal development programmes are utilised for staff to enable them to follow a pathway of learning to meet company, customer and individual needs.
“The VQ Awards help us to celebrate those Welsh employers and learners who are already going that extra mile when it comes to developing vocational skills and qualifications.
“If the Welsh economy is to continue to grow then we must ensure that employers, individuals and the Welsh Government work together to invest in the right skills for success in order to equip Wales with a world class work force.”