Dawn and Hayley

First Steps Day Nursery’s Hayley Phillips, an Early Years Practitioner, based at Ashford Hospital was shortlisted for the HEKSS ‘Apprentice of the Year’ award, which seeks to acknowledge and celebrate an apprentice’s exceptional contribution to their workplace.

Hayley, 22, of Staines, began her apprenticeship with the hospital nursery in August 2014, being one of the first on the scheme at the nursery. She completed in November of last year and has since qualified and has joined the team as a full time practitioner.

Hayley explains how the nursery apprenticeship scheme has changed her life: “I wanted to make a difference in my life, I was working in a shop but I wanted to work with children. Mum worked for the NHS and had heard about the new scheme and suggested it. That was the start of the last two years and I am now working within a 76 place nursery of children from 6 months to 5 years and 20 staff of all ages. I have learnt that children are so fascinating.

Thanks to my apprenticeship, I’ve been opened up to a whole new world of experiences I can follow”.

Dawn Hunt, Childcare Manager of the nursery says: “We have been running an apprenticeship programme at the nurseries since May 2013 and Hayley is the perfect ambassador to promote the benefits of the scheme. It’s been mine and my team’s pleasure to help nurture her into the fine practitioner she is today.”


Hayley with Childcare manager Dawn Hunt


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