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Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships integral to growth of South Wales childcare provider

The Welsh Government’s apprenticeship programme has been integral to the successful growth of Little Inspirations, a multi-award-winning South Wales childcare provider.

Since forming 20 years ago, the Pontyclun-based company has grown from one to nine settings and now has a workforce of 123. Childcare facilities are provided for children aged from six weeks to 12 years and more than 400 families daily across Rhondda Cynon Taff, Vale of Glamorgan, Newport and Merthyr Tydfil.

The company currently has 20 apprentices, having employed 39 over the past 17 years and staff retention is well above the industry average. Apprenticeships make employees feel valued and provide career progression pathways.

Little Inspirations has now been shortlisted for the prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2024 as a Medium Employer of the Year finalist.

 

Highlight of the year for apprentices, employers and work-based learning providers and practitioners, the awards are organised by the Welsh Government and supported by the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW). Headline sponsor is EAL.

 

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony to be held at ICC Wales, Newport on March 22, 2024. The awards highlight the outstanding achievements of employers, apprentices and work-based learning practitioners.

Training provider Educ8 Training works closely with Little Inspirations to deliver apprenticeships from Level 2 to 5 in Children’s Care, Play, Learning and Development Professional Practice, Play Work, Management, Customer Service and Leadership and Management.

Success stories of apprentices developing from few qualifications to becoming managers, thanks to the skills and knowledge they have gained, are inspirational to recruits.

Leading by example, Little Inspirations director Jenine Gill has completed Higher Apprenticeships (Level 5) in addition to a PGCE in Leadership and Management with Cardiff Metropolitan University.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the company is ahead of a five-year business plan target set in 2020, as profit has increased by 69%.

“Our apprenticeship programme has been of paramount importance to enable the company to expand,” said Jenine, an enthusiastic ambassador for apprenticeships who promotes childcare as a rewarding career. “We have a very skilled, confident and diverse team and all our staff are encouraged to bring new ideas into the company.”

Jenine and Little Inspirations have won a series of national awards in the last three years, including South Wales Business Female Entrepreneur of the Year for 2023

Ann Nicholas, Educ8 Training’s customer account director, said: “Little Inspirations’ outstanding commitment to apprenticeships shines through, making a significant impact in fostering growth and staff development. Their passion for work-based learning is second to none.”

Economy Minister Vaughan Gething congratulated Little Inspirations and all the other finalists.  “Today’s apprentices will be tomorrow’s specialists, and Apprenticeship Awards Cymru allows us to recognise apprentices, work-based learning practitioners, and employers that have gone above and beyond,” he said.

“Their tenacity, passion, and commitment to growing their own careers, the careers of others, and the larger Welsh economy is inspiring. I wish each of the finalists the best of luck at the awards and with their future endeavours.”

Congratulating the finalists, Al Parkes, managing director at EAL, said: “As the specialist awarding organisation and skills partner for the engineering and manufacturing industry, apprenticeships in Wales are especially important to us.

“Apprenticeships play an important role in supporting personal progress through career opportunities and a sense of achievement, while ensuring that employers have the right skills at the right time to keep up with evolving industry needs.

“EAL is committed to encouraging employers to take on apprentices. Marking the achievements of employers, apprentices and work-based learning practitioners at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru is vital to this.”

For more information about recruiting an apprentice, visit: https://gov.wales/apprenticeships-genius-decision or call 03000 603000.

Picture caption:

 

Little Inspirations director Jenine Gill (centre) with apprentices Emma Wright (left) and Abigail James.