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My Apprenticeship: Sophie Ignacio

At just 18 years old, the Brooklands College Apprentice is thriving in her active duties at Sythwood Primary & Nursery School. Sophie Ignacio started the Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship in Children & Young People’s Workforce (Early Years) in April 2017 and is progressing onto the Level 3 Apprenticeship. 

Sophie Ignacio has excelled in her development at the school and is now working as a 2-Year Old Lead. She proudly leads The Sunflower Room and has even created a dedicated chill out zone for her children. Sophie Ignacio is supported by, and works alongside, Nursery Lead Teacher Jaime Gridley. 

How did you get into the route of an Apprenticeship? 

I went to Woking College for about a month… I didn’t really enjoy just sitting in the classroom, I just couldn’t learn like that. I had a support worker because I wasn’t in education, so I started to look at Apprenticeships. 

Experiences of doing the Apprenticeship? 

it’s been good with Brooklands College. I feel like I’ve learnt a lot about SEN, how to communicate with parents and the different developments of the children. 

Describe your typical working day at Sythwood School.

I’m in a room with 3-4 year olds as well as my 2-year olds that I’m responsible for. So, we’ll have a snack and play. Then I’ll go over in the afternoon to my own room and lead the other 2-year olds with the staff. So, busy. 

Would you recommend Apprenticeships & Brooklands College?

Yes, I would. They are very supportive. I see Karen (the assessor from Brooklands College) about once a month. She’ll come in, review me, observe me, help me with my work – if I’ve got any problems she’ll be able to speak to me. 

What does the future look like for you?

It looks good. I’ll stay at Sythwood until I retire I think!

Any further comments?

I’d just like to say that Brooklands College has been quite supportive as well as Jaime here at Sythwood. 

Employer Feedback, Jaime Gridley

What are your experiences of having an Apprentice?

Brooklands College has provided a course for somebody to progress to employment  at the end. The course was tailored to Sophie and has enabled her to take over a 2-Year Old Lead role without a question. 

The majority of the Apprentices I’ve chosen so far aren’t the ones who have come in and been really confident in their interviews, they’ve been the quieter people who I think need a chance. It’s the Sythwood way – giving everybody a chance. 

The care that Karen, as an assessor, has made it more of an all-round Apprenticeship. It’s not just about the paperwork and ticking the boxes, it’s about developing the person. Brooklands College has been amazing and very supportive. 

How does the Apprenticeship programme help Sythwood? 

Nursery workers, as it is at the moment, are in short supply and having Apprentices go through the nursery, with the College’s support, they’re learning on the job to the way that we do it as a setting. It’s not generic. They’re training for what we need them to be with our children and our routines – the Sythwood way. Because they’re with us they’re not seen as students in our setting, learning – they’re part of the team from day one. 

We have five Apprentices which has increased our team significantly, we would never have that many staff in the nursery before.

Do you take continuous Apprentices?

As one pops out, we’ll take another one in. We have talks with Senior Leadership that we will train Learning Support Assistants and our nurseries through the Apprenticeship scheme. 

Our staff that aren’t qualified in the nursery have seen how well Sophie has done and now want to do a Level 2 Apprenticeship. So, it’s inspired our staff to want to do a qualification. 

How did Sythwood School get involved with Brooklands College?

I think we were looking for out-of-the-box ideas. We came across Brooklands College and the support they provide. They made the process really simple and before we knew it, Sophie\’s role appeared as an Apprenticeship. I don’t think we can look back now, it’s working really well.  

Would you recommend other employers to take on our Apprentices and why?

Yes. We’re a part of the Bourne Education Trust and are promoting it to them. It’s taking the first step, we had to do it and found that it’s okay – it does work. 

It’s not only the school, Brooklands College work in partnership with you. You’re not just employing an Apprentice and left to it. Anytime you have an issue, Brooklands College are here. It’s a really good partnership way of working. 

Any further comments?

Thank you to Brooklands College so much as well. Without it I’d still be that Nursery Teacher with one Learning Support Assistant. We wouldn’t have been able to provide activities for the children and it’s raised their experience. It’s amazing. 

Sophie Ignacio found herself with the common problem of not being stimulated in a theoretical learning environment. Working on the job with an Apprenticeship allowed her confidence to blossom giving her the ability to learn vital skills needed in her sector. 

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