Is a Nursery Apprenticeship the Right Choice for You?

April 4th, 2024

Working in a nursery means that you get the opportunity to truly help shape and make a difference in the lives of little people.

There are several different routes you can follow if you’re looking at starting a career in childcare. You might start as a nursery or playgroup assistant, an early years educator or a nursery apprentice.

What is a nursery apprentice?

A nursery apprentice is someone who’s learning the skill of being an Early Years Practitioner while studying for a professional qualification. This allows nursery apprentices to earn while they learn in an engaging, progressive and supportive environment.

What does a nursery apprentice do?

As a nursery apprentice, you will have the opportunity to observe childcare workers in the nursery as they teach, communicate and play with little ones. As well as observing experienced practitioners in the nursery, you will also have a number of roles and responsibilities.

Roles and responsibilities of a nursery apprentice include:

  • Planning and maintaining children’s records
  • Developing an understanding of Safeguarding Policy 
  • Undertaking a shared responsibility for caring for children’s health, safety, cleanliness and general wellbeing 
  • Working toward a childcare qualification, such as a Level 2 or 3 Early Years Qualification
How to apply and become a nursery apprentice

The great thing about a nursery apprenticeship is that you don’t need formal qualifications or any previous experience in working in childcare. Applying for a nursery apprenticeship is also a straightforward process. However, you will likely be required to attend an interview. It’s worth researching to find out how you can prepare for a nursery job interview. 

You do need to be eligible to work in the UK and have an up-to-date CV to apply for a childcare apprentice role.

What skills do you need to be a nursery apprentice? 

Several skills and personal qualities are important if you want to become a childcare apprentice or nursery apprentice:

  • Passionate about educating and supporting young children
  • Articulate and friendly 
  • Able to fully commit to the apprenticeship programme
  • Good at working in a team
  • Patient and punctual 

How does a nursery apprenticeship work?

There are multiple options available for nursery apprenticeships. Two of these options are a Level 2 and Level 3 Pathway. These are two work-based qualifications designed to give you hands-on experience in a nursery setting while offering you dedicated study time each week to help you complete your qualification. 

What you will learn

While you’re completing your nursery apprenticeship, you will work alongside experienced professionals that will offer you on-the-job training. This means you’ll receive practical experience working with young children while having set time to dedicate to your assignments and study tasks. 

How long does a nursery apprenticeship take and where can it lead you?

A nursery apprenticeship usually takes around 12-18 months to complete. This type of apprenticeship is highly valuable. It helps introduce you to a fulfilling career and provides an insight into where a career in childcare can take you. 

Level 2 Pathway apprentices at Partou usually become qualified Nursery Assistants within 12 months of starting. After this, many move onto the Level 3 Pathway. This advanced apprenticeship, the equivalent of two A Levels, leads nursery workers to become full-time qualified Early Years Practitioners – putting them in great stead for applying for more senior positions. 

Job roles you could move into:
  • Nursery Assistant 
  • Early Years Practitioner 
  • Room Leader 
  • Early Year Coordinator 
  • Youth Support Worker
  • Care Worker

If you’d like to find out more about a nursery apprenticeship with us, please email

Related news

What is a Nursery Manager?

Working as a Nursery Manager is a highly rewarding experience that comes with big responsibilities.

Here’s all you need to know about becoming a Nursery Manager at a Partou Nursery.

Read more