“If I didn’t have my apprenticeship, I wouldn’t have had the roles I have had in childcare. I was able to work from the bottom to the top as a nursery manager. Later in life I chose to be a childminder and I’ve never looked back.”
Learn Plus Us Alumnae, Shelby, found success launching her own childminding business after completing our Level 3 Childcare apprenticeship and Level 4 Childcare qualification. She shares candidly about the challenges she overcame during her studies, her excellent relationship with her tutor, and why her assistant is now completing an apprenticeship with Learn Plus Us! Read her full interview below.
Can you introduce yourself, what you do and how long you have been doing it?
My name is Shelby, I am a childminder in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire. I’ve worked with children since I was 15 years old through work experience, I’m now 30 years old with my own business in childcare!
When I was 21, my manager at the time asked if I’d like to get a Level 3 qualification in Childcare – I said absolutely! I was put in touch with Learn Plus Us and this where my journey began.
Describe your business and what you enjoy most about it
I love my job; I am now a childminder in my own home with an assistant who is currently doing an apprenticeship with Learn Plus Us herself! I work 4 days a week, I have more flexibility for my own children and enjoy teaching children and watching them develop in my care.
What made you take on an apprenticeship?
I had just been engaged and was trying for my son. I didn’t do well at school and struggled with the learning side of things, I’m much better as a practical learner. I knew I wanted to better myself, so I decided do a Level 3 qualification with Learn Plus Us. Whilst doing the course, I fell pregnant and had my first-born son. I continued my studies and never gave up. I remember the nights where I would feed my son with a laptop on my lap whilst working and feeding at the same time. It was tough but so worth it.
Describe how the apprenticeship has helped to progress your career
If I didn’t have my apprenticeship, I wouldn’t have had the roles I have had in childcare. I went on to complete the Level 4 qualification with Learn Plus Us, as I had such a great experience the first time with my assessor. I was able to work from the bottom to the top as a nursery manager, later in life I chose to be a childminder and I never looked back.
What were some challenges you faced during your studies and how did you overcome them?
My biggest challenge was having a baby at 22 years old, with postnatal depression, but carrying on. I never stopped. I didn’t want to give up, it’s not in my nature. I had tough times, but I knew what I wanted, and I made sure I did it. I was very proud of myself for it, and always will be.
What were your standout moments from your apprenticeship?
I enjoyed being graded and getting my marks, I was over the moon with my positive feedback. I had a great relationship with my assessor, she made me feel so comfortable and happy and I still have a place in my heart for her now. She made me carry on no matter what.
What would you tell someone thinking of taking on apprenticeship or extra training?
“Enjoy it, embrace learning, fill yourself up with knowledge. It’s fun!”
I enjoyed it because I love the subject, you have to love what you do, childcare is like marmite and isn’t for everyone. You must love what you learn, and it’ll come easy. Enjoy it, embrace learning, fill yourself up with knowledge. It’s fun!
What were your tutors like?
I had an assessor called Rita, she reminded me of a mum figure, and I enjoyed her company so much. She would call me to check how I was getting on and would support me throughout. She is a great lady.
One of your employees is now an apprentice with LPU- can you describe this and why you chose to give them this opportunity?
Yes, she’s now studying her Level 3 in Childcare, I knew I could rely on LPU! It was even better when she was given my assessor from 8 years ago!
A great company, great assessors, a great place to learn. I’m always tempted to study again, maybe one day!