Early Years Practitioner shortlisted as finalist for prestigious award

An Early Years Practitioner from Aberdeen is a finalist in the Apprentice Ambassador of the Year category at the upcoming Scottish Apprenticeship Awards.

Declan, Third in Charge at The Treehouse Early Care & Education Centre based at Robert Gordon University Campus in Aberdeen, has channelled his passion for childcare to inspire other young people to follow his Modern Apprenticeship career path. The 22-year-old has played a key role in supporting and mentoring Foundation Apprentice school pupils. Declan started his own learning journey with Aberlour Futures, completing the Skills for Work in Early Education & Childcare (National level 5) while he was still at school. He then completed a Modern Apprenticeship in Social Services (Children and Young People).

Susan Greig, Service Manager at Aberlour Futures in Aberdeen, said: “I feel very privileged to have been part of Declan’s learning journey since his time in secondary school. I have seen him grow in knowledge, experience, and confidence in the Early Years sector as he continued his learning with the support of his mentors at Treehouse Early Care & Education Centre and Aberlour Futures staff.”

Declan now leads the preschool room at Treehouse Early Care and Education Centre, which is operated by Bright Horizons in partnership with Robert Gordon University. It’s a Workplace Nursery and provides employees and students from the university access to high quality, affordable childcare that complements their working patterns. There are also spaces in the setting to support families from the local community.

Declan said: “The Modern Apprenticeship appealed to me because of the opportunity to get hands-on experience at work. Reflecting on my learning every day of my apprenticeship meant that I was constantly building on my skills; I would never have gained the same insights into child development without doing the qualification while I was working. Being part of a team and having people who believe in me improved my confidence - I love to share my enthusiasm for the job with others and support them too.”

Declan is working towards a Technical Apprenticeship in Social Services (Children and Young People) and hopes to do a BA in Childhood Practice.

Declan is one of nearly 500 apprentices currently working at Bright Horizons in the UK. The most popular apprenticeship programme focused on here is in Early Years. Early Years apprentices will mainly work and study towards Level 3 Early Years Educator apprenticeships through work-based learning.

Bright Horizons has an ongoing commitment as a leading UK nursery provider to help young people develop core professional skills and long-term career pathways in an industry vital to Britain’s economic and social wellbeing.

Michele Doull, Director of Operations in Scotland at Bright Horizons, said: “We are delighted to see Declan recognised for such a prestigious award. He is an outstanding individual and embodies every quality you would want in an early years practitioner. Developing future generations of well-trained childcare professionals is vital to driving best practice in childcare. I am excited to see even more of our own employees get involved in our apprenticeships.”

The winners of the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards will be revealed at a virtual event on the evening of Wednesday 8 March during Scottish Apprenticeship Week (#ScotAppWeek23).