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Jean Metcalfe

Sunderland, UK

Learning and Skills Teacher Apprenticeship

Jean Metcalfe had progressed through management roles in nurseries and was working as a childcare assessor when she decided to take on the Learning and Skills Teacher Apprenticeship to develop her practice further. The apprenticeship has boosted her confidence and allowed her to bring new skills and knowledge into her workplace.

“I started my career journey by completing both my childcare and leadership and management qualifications, working as a nanny while I was at college then a nursery where I progressed into a more senior role. I was a manager at a nursery for ten years, then a few other nurseries before beginning my assessor qualification, and once I had this, I moved into my current role as a childcare assessor and tutor at Springboard North East. I developed my practice and decided to enrol on the Learning and Skills Teacher Apprenticeship at Sunderland.

My current role at Springboard involves supporting learners to achieve their goals, supporting staff, teaching and assessing childcare, and liaising with schools and nurseries that offer work placements. I carry out reviews with learners and plan and implement relevant lessons, as well as attend recruitment events. I make sure I keep up to date with Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and I’m also an IQA for Level 1 Health and Social Care and Level 3 Early Years Educator.

Since starting the apprenticeship, I’ve become more confident in my role, and I believe this has shown through my work. I’m observed in my teaching by other staff members, and I feel comfortable in supporting them and supporting training sessions. I even came runner up as Apprenticeship Champion, which was a great boost for my confidence, realising what my colleagues think of me and how I’m appreciated.

The apprenticeship hasn’t just benefited me as an employee but has been an advantage to my organisation too by bringing in more defined skills into teaching practices to support other staff, implementing and adopting changes in teaching, and influencing the way staff are observed, using peer on peer observations.

Balancing the workload between studying and working can be difficult at times, but my team and manager are an excellent support network, and I’ve been good at managing my time. Using the off-timetable week works well, but you need a lot of self-discipline.

I’m not sure what’s in store for me when I graduate, but I’m looking forward to new challenges and prospects. I enjoy the IQA side of my role, and I’m thinking about pursuing this further in the future.

My advice to anyone considering an apprenticeship at Sunderland would be to go for it – take the opportunity and make sure you take everything you learn and the experiences that come with it on board – but also be prepared. I’ve had a great experience and learnt so much, working alongside some fantastic people from different organisations where we’ve been able to share our expertise.”

Published 14 February 2024

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