Childcare Apprenticeships

Love kids? Passionate about making a difference to future generations? And want to work in a role that’s super rewarding? Read our guide on childcare apprenticeships to find out how they work and why you should do one.

Childcare Apprenticeships

Having a family is a blessing. Raising tiny humans who’ll one day grow up and make a difference in the world is a proud moment for any parent.

But it’s not always easy. With great power comes great responsibility. And for many, this responsibility comes in the form of childcare. As a childcare worker, you’ll teach children social skills through play while caring for their physical and emotional wellbeing.

There are lots of different career paths to explore with childcare. Whichever you choose, your role will shape a child’s life for the better - throughout their primary years and beyond.

Love kids? Passionate about making a difference to future generations? And want to work in a role that’s super rewarding? Read our guide on childcare apprenticeships to find out how they work and why you should do one.

Can you do an apprenticeship in childcare?

Absolutely you can! Childcare apprenticeships are increasingly popular career options for young people like you. As an apprentice, you can work as a nursery assistant or early years practitioner, planning fun and educational activities that stimulate and engage children. 

You’ll take them on outings, enhance their language skills through games and introduce them to art, music and cooking. 

Prefer working with teens instead? You could tutor Maths or supervise homework club to make sure those naughty Year 8s aren’t watching TikTok videos under their desks!

An apprenticeship in childcare allows you to:

  • Receive professional training

  • Study for nationally recognised qualifications

  • Get paid.

All at once. Does it get any better than that?

"“I think that the apprenticeship is well organised and structured. I always know what work I need to be doing and I have lots of help from my trainer. She is always available if I need to discuss my progress.” " Early Years Practitioner, Nursery Rhymes

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What types of childcare apprenticeships are there?

There are tons of apprenticeships available in childcare. And in different areas too. Want to become a nursery worker, teaching assistant or youth support worker? If so, there’s definitely something there for you.

Childcare apprenticeships come in three levels, depending on your age and experience:

Intermediate childcare apprenticeships (Level 2)

Intermediate apprenticeships are the first step on the career ladder. Designed for 16 year olds, they’re great for school leavers who want to get stuck in and learn how a nursery works. 

These apprenticeships take:

  • 12-18 months to complete (plus an End Point Assessment) AND are

  • Equivalent to getting five GCSE passes at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C).

Entry requirements will depend on your employer. So make sure you check each role carefully before submitting your application.

As an intermediate apprentice, you’ll split your week, working for your employer 80% of the time and studying towards a qualification at a college or training provider for the remaining 20%.

What does an intermediate apprentice in childcare do? 

You’ll interact with children on a day-to-day basis, reading books, telling stories, drawing shapes and making fun letter sounds. Your role will vary, but one thing won’t. 

The children’s wellbeing. You’ll need to ensure that the children you care for are happy, healthy and able to learn new things each day.

Here’s a list of organisations offering level 2 apprenticeships in childcare.

Once you’ve finished your programme, your options are ENDLESS. With your sparkling set of new skills, you can work in a whole range of places. Pre-schools, playgrounds, children’s centres and hospitals… take your pick.

Search for intermediate level childcare apprenticeships

Advanced childcare apprenticeships (Level 3)

Advanced apprenticeships are the next step up on the career ladder and allow you to dive deeper into your programme, putting everything you’ve learned at intermediate level straight into practice.

These apprenticeships train you to look after children at a supervisory level or entirely on your own.

They take:

  • 2-4 years to complete (plus an End Point Assessment) AND are

  • Equivalent to getting two A-Levels.

What does an advanced apprentice in childcare do?

Throughout your programme, you’ll manage a nursery and promote equality, diversity and inclusion in the early years sector. You’ll also form partnerships with education professionals, discussing and supporting the needs of children in your community. 

Ultimately, all your hard work will make the world a better place for those children. What a lovely thing to do. 

After completing your apprenticeship, you’ll receive a:

  • Level 3 Early Years Educator Diploma

  • Functional Skills in maths and english (if needed)

  • Certificate in Paediatric First Aid.

"“I have learned how to multitask and prioritize tasks. A nursery is very busy and the most important thing is the wellbeing of the children. I have learned different techniques regarding engaging with different age groups. I have also improved my communication skills by collaborating with parents in person and over the phone.” " Apprentice Early Years Practitioner, Little Steps, St George’s School

Watch this video to find out what a level 3 apprenticeship in childcare with Aspiration Training is all about.

Higher childcare apprenticeships (Level 4)

Finished your GCSEs? Or an intermediate and advanced level apprenticeship in childcare? If so, higher apprenticeships are the perfect next step. 

These childcare apprenticeships prepare you for a specific role in education. Not just in nurseries - but children's homes and special needs schools too.

Higher apprenticeships take:

  • 1 - 4 years to complete (plus an End Point Assessment) AND are

  • Equivalent to a Higher National Certificate (HNC). 

What does a higher apprentice in childcare do?

As a higher apprentice, you’ll work as a Children, Young People and Families Practitioner, developing skills like self-awareness, resilience and emotional intelligence.

You’ll use these skills to build positive relationships with children and young people, so you can support them in any area they need.

If you’re looking for a level 4 apprenticeship in childcare, The Childcare Company offers two fantastic pathways with this programme:

Community Childcare Practitioner

As a Community Childcare Practitioner, you’ll work in different areas like :

  • Education

  • Early years

  • Youth services / justice

  • Family support

  • Special educational needs schools.

Once you’ve finished your course, you’ll get a Level 4 certificate in Higher Education from the De Montfort University in Leicester. 

Residential Childcare Practitioner

Love helping others through their struggles? If so, the Residential Childcare Practitioner programme is for you.

This course is suitable for:

  • Residential care workers

  • Support workers.

As a Residential Childcare Practitioner, you’ll work with children from all walks of life. Children who’ve been abused, experienced trauma or have severe learning difficulties.

You’ll earn their trust, make them feel safe and rebuild their confidence through activities like reading and storytelling.

Of course there will be some challenges, so you’ll need to make sure you have a resilient and patient nature. It won’t be for everyone and that’s okay. But, for those who do go on to have a career in this profession say it can feel truly life-changing.

What GCSEs do you need to work in childcare?

To work in childcare, you need Maths and English GCSEs (grade C or above). If you don’t have GCSEs, you’ll sit these during your apprenticeship.

Once you’ve finished your programme, you can study for further qualifications. But these will depend on the role you ultimately want.

Nursery assistant qualifications

To become a nursery assistant, you don’t usually need specific qualifications as you’ll be learning on the job. That said, if you want to progress in this role and become a nursery nurse, it’s best to get yourself a​​ Cache Level 2 Certificate.

At the end of the day, nothing beats hands-on experience. Having solid examples of ways you’ve worked with children before will ensure your application stands out from the crowd. Done any of these things below? Include them!

  • Babysitting 

  • Nannying 

  • Volunteering at school clubs or with reading help

  • Assisting children with special educational needs

Read our top application tips →

Finding the right employer for you can sometimes feel TOUGH. We get it. That’s why we’ve created our Best Student Employers table

They’re made up of thousands of  honest reviews written by apprentices just like you. Want to find the best companies in your industry? It’s a great place to start.

How many hours do nursery apprentices work?

Nursery apprentices work a minimum of 30 hours a week and a maximum of 40. On an average week, you’ll spend four days working for your employer and one day at a college or training provider. But this can change, depending on who you work for.

Want to find out more about what it’s really like to do an apprenticeship in childcare? Have a read of over 40,000 student-written reviews.

Browse childcare apprenticeship reviews

How much do you get paid for an apprenticeship in childcare?

An apprenticeship will earn you a juicy sum of cash. Not Robinsons Fruit Shoot juicy. A Malta-getaway swimming with dolphins kind of juicy - ‘cause that’s exactly where your salary could take you. (If you want it to of course).

As a nursery apprentice, you’ll get paid for:

  • Your working hours

  • Any training that’s part of your programme

  • Extra courses you’ll need to take (for example, Maths and English).

While your salary depends on your employer, you’ll receive the National Minimum Wage as a base. That works out as roughly £20,229 a year. Some employers will pay you more though. Yay!

Childcare is a super rewarding career. Not only will you work with children from different cultural backgrounds, you’ll play a vital role in their development - supporting, nurturing and preparing them for the big wide world that is adulthood. 

Now THAT’S something to be proud of.

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