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Early Years Educator

The early years is a vital part of a child’s education when they develop the cognitive, social and emotional skills that set them up for life. Early years professionals are crucial in helping children develop before starting school. They plan and run education, play activities with children under five years old, and make sure they're safe and happy. It's a joyful and rewarding job where apprentices will get to see children learn and grow thanks to their support.

There are two entry-level early years apprenticeships:

  • level 2 early years practitioner
  • level 3 early years educator

Both apprenticeships are suitable for those with no previous experience. Level 2 may be more suitable for those leaving school at 16. It allows you to work in an early years setting under supervision, supporting the planning and delivery of education and care for 0-5 year olds, and is an excellent entry point into the sector.

Level 3 may be more suitable for those who want to plan, organise and lead enriching learning activities, and perhaps supervise others. This qualification also enables you to be counted within the staff:child ratio guidelines in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework settings have to follow, which is something employers will be looking for.

Typical tasks include:

  • supporting or leading educational games
  • conducting activities such as crafts, music and cooking
  • preparing the learning environment with resources and displays
  • helping with trips and outings
  • feeding and changing babies
  • observing and assessing children to help their learning

Apprenticeship duration: approx. 12 to 18 months

Salary expectations: starting salary can be between £15k and 19k

Click here to download a guide on early years apprenticeships. Hear from apprentices on their experiences as an Early Years Educator, what they enjoy most in their job, how they've progressed in their career and the support they've received.

Where could you work?

Early years professionals are needed in lots of different settings, such as day care centres, pre-schools, nursery schools, reception classes, playgroups and hospitals.

"We believe it's incredibly important to build a pipeline of talent within the early years sector. Not only do we want to create opportunities for all people, but we find that apprentices often stay on for a long time, undergoing training before moving into management roles.”

- Anthony Bromirski, Chief Operating Officer, Busy Bees Education and Training

Meet some apprentices

Meet Erin, who loves seeing the children she works with progress.

Meet Jess, who’s apprenticeship has helped her build confidence.

Meet Jack, who enjoys getting a real insight into a nursery setting.

Further information

For further information about how you can get into the sector, visit early years careers. You can also view the latest apprenticeship vacancies based on your interest and location with details of how to apply.


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