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Apprenticeships for All - Encouraging the mature workforce to become apprentices

As part of National Apprenticeship Week 2024, we were delighted to hear there was a designated day celebrating 'Apprenticeships for All.' At Open Awards, we strongly believe in the power of apprenticeships whether that be for the young or slightly older apprentices out there. 

In this article, Gillian Mason, Head of Training and Development at Kids Planet Day Training Academy and valued Trustee of Open Awards, talks about how Kids Planet work tirelessly to encourage and work with mature apprentices.

'In most countries, apprenticeships are still conceived as models of learning for young people, for those moving from full-time education to work- public perception is that apprentices are most commonly early school leavers, aged between 16 and 18. 

However, at Kids Planet Day Nurseries, we are acutely aware of the importance and value of older apprentices entering or rejoining the early years sector - the average age of our apprentice is 27 and we have apprentices up to the age of 54.  

At Kids Planet we find mature apprentices bring multiple positive benefits to the company from upskilling to higher levels and retraining in terms of motivation, pay and social relationships.  

In early years, a sector perpetually struggling to recruit, it’s imperative that we widen the potential of recruits to include apprentice at all ages and levels, to support this we offer a clear trajectory of apprenticeship levels from entry level up to level 7. Our mature apprentices bring a wealth of life experience and a myriad of previous skills. 

Mature apprentices tend to manage relationships better and offer a different perspective in a team usually dominated by younger members. Added to this is maturity, respect and the ability to adapt and work flexibly i.e. having to offer cover and support at other nurseries.  

As they usually have more experience in a workplace, mature apprentices have made a conscious choice to enter the sector, they tend to be more resilient, have more realistic expectations from work and be more ready to work with a team impacting positively on retention and completion rates. 

Many have their own children thus have more concept of the demands of this role and have clarity on what they want and expect.  

Mature apprentices often have well-developed soft skills, as they have had the opportunity to develop these skills in previous work environments. They often understand the importance of dedication and are willing to put in the effort required to learn, grow and succeed in their apprenticeship and beyond usually requiring less supervision to make sure that they’re on track and productive.  

At Kids Planet, our mature apprentices often act as role models for other apprentices or younger employees. They provide guidance and support, drawing on their life experience to help others navigate challenges in the workplace.  

Finally, many of our mature apprentices also have strong leadership skills, which make them a great fit for higher-level positions later on. Many have prior managerial experience or other skills in dealing with problems or people that can help them take on more meaningful roles once they have completed their apprenticeship with many progressing to managerial roles within Kids Planet.'

At Open Awards, we are proud to work with Kids Planet Day Nurseries to offer the Level 5 Outdoor Learning Specialist Apprenticeship Standard. If you would like more information on our End Point Assessment (EPA) offerings for this standard or the others we offer, please click here or get in touch.

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