Level 3 childcare apprentice, Awa Diop is impressing her new bosses at the Purple Willows Day Nursery and Pre-School in a big way since joining them in October.

The 19-year-old from Orpington is the eldest of ten siblings and has been caring for her younger brothers and sisters since she was just ten years old. This experience, she says, has given her many of the skills and abilities required for the job of working with children from birth until their early teens, and has equipped her well for a career in the childcare, early years and education sector.

Awa’s employers have already offered her a permanent position at the Sidcup nursery after just three months. Her manager, Kellie Stratton says: “She is just wonderful. We pretty much knew, after her first full week in the role, that she was ideal for the vacancy and we would love for her to join us on a permanent basis once her apprenticeship is complete. She is enthusiastic, willing to help with just about anything, she has a great rapport with the children and is honest, trustworthy and responsible - everything we are looking for.”

Awa first came to the College after leaving school in 2016. First, she enrolled on the Health and Social Care Level 2 Certifcate before deciding to specialise in Children's Care, Learning and Development. After completing her level 2, she wanted to earn a wage while she studied and enquired about completing her level 3 qualification as an apprentice.

Awa says: “I love working with children and my parents taught me how to look after and take responsibility for my younger siblings while I was growing up. I feel like I’ve been gifted a head start in this area and now want to make a career as a professional childcare practitioner. One day, I’d quite like to work as a nursery manager and eventually run my own nursery.

“Working here has been brilliant so far and I’ve felt welcome and supported from the very first day. My confidence has improved, and I’m being given a hands-on and very detailed insight into this very specialised role.

“I have had such a positive experience at the College too. From starting my course through to applying to be an apprentice, the guidance and training I’ve received has been amazing – particularly regarding employability, cv writing and interview practice. Also, the extra help in the core subjects of English, maths and ICT have helped me enormously.

"An apprenticeship gives you just about everything you need to get started in your career. You also get paid and spend one day a week at College. It has opened all kinds of doors for me and I’m immensely grateful. I always wanted to have a job doing something I really wanted to do, and I feel like I’ve achieved that part of my ambitions already."

Since joining the College, Awa has maintained a 100% attendance record. She has also achieved a Jack Petchey Award for her magnificent achievements on course. She is a fantastic role model to her fellow classmates and apprentices.

If you think you have what it takes to become a child care professional and build a successful career in the early years' sector, we’d like to hear from you. We have a great range of courses and apprenticeship opportunities to get you started. Come along to one of our open events.

If you are an employer and would like to find out more about taking on an apprentice, please click here. 

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