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Kidzrus Nursery Group are delighted to celebrate the 15th National Apprenticeships Week and celebrate that apprenticeships have a positive impact on individuals, businesses and the wider economy. The Kidzrus Group of Private Day Nurseries was set up in April 2010 by Nicola Fleury as she recognised the need for high quality childcare within the City of Salford, although as a childminder we have been a placement provider since 2006. Since then it has grown to an award winning group based across five settings within the City, employing more than 100 practitioners with an in-depth knowledge of the area and experience and skills to meet the specific needs of the children in our care.

At Kidzrus we have long recognised the benefits of apprenticeships by employing a new member of staff as an apprentice and by encouraging an existing employee to further their career by taking an apprenticeship.  After all, our colleagues are our greatest resource and best asset and in employing an apprentice we gain a workforce that is talented and equipped with future-ready skills.

We have formed an extremely positive working relationship with Salford City College by accepting student Childcare practitioners on placement so that they may gain closely supervised, hands on experience of working in a setting on a day-to-day basis and recognise what skills and qualities are required, and also how the routine runs on a day-to-day basis.

We have the pleasure of working alongside Mary Wheeler, Teacher of Early Years Education and her colleagues to ensure that our apprentices meet the academic and practical standards that both Salford City College and Kidzrus require in our staff team.  Our Director, Nicola Fleury has accepted numerous invitations from Salford City College to deliver motivational speeches and  presentations, to answer any questions and give advice to students considering early years education as a career that give an insight into daily life as a practitioner and to encourage the learners that with hard work and determination and a vision to succeed anything is possible.

We continue to recruit a number of our workforce as apprentices.  We feel that an apprenticeship allows an individual to study for a work-based qualification that can significantly improve their future earning power and career enjoyment with numerous opportunities for promotion within the group. Our apprentices follow the same robust recruitment and induction procedures as qualified and established colleagues and are considered as part of the team from Day One.  They are able to complete some mandatory aspects of their induction training at their convenience online and then become aware of the key personnel within the business as well as our policies and procedures, with a strong focus on Child Protection and Wellbeing via in person sessions with our Quality Manager.

Within their base setting they are allocated an experienced and qualified Mentor who helps them to settle into life within the nursery and is able to answer any questions that they may have, as well as supporting them in the research, planning and drafting of assignments.

The Quality  Manager responsible for teaching, learning and staff development, Darren Matthews BA (Hons), PGCE is a former teacher at Salford City College and is experienced in the delivery and assessment of Maths and English as well as supporting Childcare staff in the delivery of those modules.  These skills are put to good use in working closely with our apprentices on their learning journey as they are provided with their own Professional Development Plan. We encourage our apprentices to participate in professional development by completing informal sessions organised by our in-house Training Academy.  This enables them to extend their skills, knowledge and understanding of important aspects of their role and has an immediately positive effect on their practice within the setting whilst also impacting on any accredited assignments at college.

An apprenticeship will also ensure that the skills developed are matched to our future needs. This will help fill any skills gaps and allow the us as a business to source future managers and leaders from within.  As an inspirational employer we advocate internal progression through planning for the future.  We are delighted that former apprentices currently serve on our Senior Leadership and Management Team and welcome the continued development of our staff members into more responsible and senior positions.

Employees who have been trained in-house are highly motivated, committed to the nurseries and supportive of our objective – to give ‘Every Child – Every Chance!’ An apprenticeship encourages our employees to think of their job as a career from day one and we know that they stay with us for longer, which reduces our recruitment costs. Kidzrus offering an apprenticeship to an existing member of staff shows that we see them as an integral part of our workforce and are more than happy to invest in their future.  Who better to work with than a Senior Leadership and Management and colleague team that follows and ethos of being committed, inspirational and passionate!

Kidzrus has a strong commitment to the wellbeing of our colleagues and this incorporates many actions, such as our policies and procedures, regular supervision meetings, appointment of Mental Health First Aiders and a Wellbeing Self Help Guide.  The mental and physical wellbeing of our colleague team is of paramount importance and forms part of our drive to improve quality within the Kidzrus Group by reviewing our practice and setting targets.

Wellbeing isn’t just a formal aspect of our work with colleagues as we hold informal social events such as pamper sessions, faith and cultural events and birthday parties as well as our staff recognition scheme whereby invaluable contributions are recognised, rewarded and celebrated.

We acknowledge equality, diversity and inclusion and this expands across all areas of life within The Kidzrus Community, incorporating our settings, family communications, the environment and daily learning areas; how colleagues and children learn, play and engage with each other.  We want to give better representation of the diverse family groups and support them so that they are more visible and their voices are heard.

Apprentices bring a fresh approach and a positive attitude into our workplace, and this has a knock-on effect on existing staff. By embarking on an apprenticeship, they are showing themselves to be willing to learn and can bring new ideas into our settings. As apprentices come from a range of backgrounds – including high-calibre candidates who do not want the costs of going to university – they can bring fresh insight into our business activities.

Of course, we must mention our own contribution to raising the standards of working within the childcare sector.  We are an award winning small group and our Managing Director has been recognised as an Inspirational and Business Leader who has made an Outstanding Contribution to Early Years education.  As a group Kidzrus has won numerous accolades for Team Development, for contributions to the Community, though it is for our efforts in recruitment with apprentices that we are especially proud.   In 2018 the Group was finalist in the NMT Nursery Recruitment Initiative Awards and in 2019 Mrs Fleury won the 2019 YMCA Training Award as Employer of the Year and she attended that event in The House of Commons with members of the apprenticeship team to presented with her award by Rebecca Long-Bailey, Member of Parliament for Salford and Eccles.

We are absolutely delighted to announce that Natasha Jones, our current Level 2 Childcare apprentice at Kidzrus, The Lodge is a finalist in the 2022 Apprenticeship and Business Awards at Salford City College and will attend the ceremony with her family, her Mentor and members of the Kidzrus Senior Leadership and Management Team.  Congratulations on your well deserved achievements Natasha – you are an inspiration and should be rightfully proud of your accomplishments so soon into your career.

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