By Dr Tanya Richardson (Vice Chair, ECSDN)

Over four years ago a trailblazer group was formed to begin to consider the requirements for level 5 and 6 apprenticeships within the field of Early Years. This trailblazer group was made up of employers, training providers, local authorities and Higher Education Institutions and the aim of the group was to design an apprenticeship at level 5 and 6 that suited the sector and those within in.

As the vice-chair for workforce development for the ECSDN I was asked to join the group and have been there ever since and I am delighted to say that just in these last few months we, as a group have got to the point where the level 5 has been published in the public domain. It is now available for delivery and I am aware that some training providers are working on rolling this out, as we speak. It was really important to be involved in this and represent the network, as these apprenticeships, and the level-ness of them, needed to align with current portfolios and requirements.

The level 5 apprenticeships were designed with flexibility in mind – they needed to meet the different needs of a diverse sector and need to be suitable for both those new to the profession or, equally, who have been there for years. Students do need to be employed though and employers need to be committed to allowing them 20% “off the job” to study and complete the task required of them. At completion they will be classed as “full and relevant” at level 3 – being able to be counted in ratio at level 3 rates.

Level 6 is still in the pipeline and being considered by the Institute for Apprenticeships so watch this space on that one – I will update when more is known.

In the meantime, if you want to find out more about the Early Years Lead Practitioner Level 5 Apprenticeship then full details are available here:
Early years lead practitioner / Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education

In my opinion this is an exciting addition to the suite of programmes that are available to those wanting to progress within the early years workforce and compliments the existing provision well. If it succeeds, as it hopes to, in raising the profile and professionalism of the sector, and therefore results in benefits to children and their families, then what more can we ask for?!

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