Celebrating Early Years Apprentices Across the UK

Busy Bees Training Academy celebrated the success of childcare apprentices across the UK at a special graduation ceremony, as they were joined by special guest, television presenter and life coach, Anna Williamson.

Over 100 graduating apprentices of all levels from Busy Bees nurseries across the country gathered at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham on Saturday (14th May) to celebrate the completion of apprenticeship programmes in catering, childcare and management over the last 12 months.

The event recognised and rewarded the hard work and dedication displayed by learners in Busy Bees nurseries every day, as well as promote the exceptional value that Apprenticeships can bring to other businesses and the wider UK workforce.

The New York-themed event was facilitated by Coventry and Warwickshire’s Free Radio Breakfast Presenter, John Dalziel, who introduced the crowd to guest speakers, Busy Bees MD Marg Randles, HR Director Claire Phizacklea and TV Presenter Anna Williamson.

Talking to the crowd, Anna, who is also a life coach, shared her experiences and wise words with the young apprentices. She explains what she wanted to achieve with her inspirational talk;

“Some of the Apprentices’ I addressed today are young and are still dealing with all the insecurities and worries most of us at that age faced. I really wanted to take this opportunity to try and impart some of the lessons I have learned along the way. One of those would be to stop worrying about what everyone else thinks of you and the decisions you make. We spend a lot of time trying to please others, second guessing our instinct. Just remember who you are, what your values are, and what you want from life, and don’t let others influence you too much. Of course, it’s good to take feedback and advice, but eventually we have to go for what we believe is right. Once I realised that, I was a lot happier and better at my job because of it.
“Today is about empowering these fabulous young men and women who are achieving, sometimes in the face of adversity. I do a lot of work in my role as mentor with The Princes Trust, as a ChildLine Councillor, and an ambassador for Mind, a charity that deals with mental health issues. As someone who has suffered with my own metal health issues, I understand how much it impacts on your work. Today isn’t about me at all, but I wanted to share a bit about my life as a TV presenter, which looks glamourous, and it can be, but there is also a really human side to me and my life and behind my confidence I’ve battled my own issues with anxiety. Hopefully people will realise they’re not alone and if I can overcome it, then so can they.

“It’s also about learning how to celebrate their achievements, and hopefully they’ll come out of today feeling very chuffed with themselves and the things they have achieved so far.”

Talking about learning, and Apprenticeships in particular, Anna goes on to say;

“I think it’s really important to keep learning and challenging yourself, and I’m genuinely a fan of Apprenticeships. I’m fairly academic, but I was far more interested in performance and vocational subjects but I was never encouraged to explore that because it was seen as substandard compared to areas such as Maths or Science. I really disagree and I believe there should be do differentiation between academic and vocational studies. When we’re at school we sometimes get pushed down a route we don’t necessarily want to do, but it’s important to do what you have a passion for and enjoy. Whatever you’re interested in and feel you have a natural talent for you should be encouraged to go for it, and you really can’t get a worthier job that as a childcare professional.

“I enjoy learning because it gives me more credibility and passion for what I’m doing. So keep learning, and developing. You only get one chance in life, so go out and do something you enjoy!”

As well as enjoying a selection of ‘mocktails’, a celebratory lunch and posing with various ‘cuts outs’ of famous celebrities, a series of individual awards were presented to a number of the highest achieving apprentices, sponsored by local businesses and associates of Busy Bees Training Academy (see notes to editors for full list of sponsors).

The chosen categories this year were: Intermediate Apprentice of the Year (Childcare), Advanced Apprentice of the Year (Childcare), Management Apprentice of the Year, Catering Apprentice of the Year, Traineeship Learner of the Year, Outstanding Achievement Award, Recognition of Career Progression Award, Best Nursery Support of the Year and Training Officer of the Year (see notes to editors for list of winners).

Each of the winners received a special gift and award as well as a certificate to proudly display at home.

Training Manager at Busy Bees Training Academy, Fay Gibbin, explains:

“The graduation ceremony is a perfect opportunity for us to celebrate our apprentices and a means of rewarding them for the quality of work they have displayed throughout their training programme to date. A huge congratulates goes to them and to all of our winners on the day.

“We also hope that the afternoon supports and promotes the benefits Apprentices bring to a team. We have found that their ‘hands-on’ experience, enthusiasm and fresh-thinking has added a great deal of value to the care we provide within Busy Bees nurseries.”

Talking about the value of apprenticeships, Fay goes on to say;

“Rather than wrongly assume that apprenticeships are for young people with fewer academic alternatives, as a society we should acknowledge and wholeheartedly welcome vocational study as a credible alternative to university education and as a way to continuously develop our experiences throughout our working life. As education providers, we all need to highlight the benefits apprentices can bring to business owners, as well as school leavers, so more quality places are available in a range of sectors. The quality teams they produce is evident in the fantastic graduates we have here today and in the staff teams that deliver quality childcare within our nurseries every day.”

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