There are thousands of nurseries and playgroups across England looking for the best Childcare Apprentices to join their teams. But this isn’t a position for everyone as childcare is a demanding and and fast paced environment. You would also need to have either some experience or qualifications in health and social care to be successful. Below are some of the duties you would be asked to do on a daily basis:
- Assist with any outdoor activities
- Support with language skills
- Supervise and support children’s play
- Making sure children feel safe and secure at all times
- Promoting the children’s learning and enjoyment through planned experiences
- Supporting children’s care routines, such as meal and sleep times
When it comes to applying for a Childcare Apprenticeship employers look for someone who is patient, hard working and able to resolve situations. Many Childcare Apprenticeships start at a Level 2 which then progress to Level 3 and above, meaning that this is great opportunity to show your skills and why they should choose you.
Always Be Prepared
Before attending any interview you must always prepare! You should never arrive to an interview without doing any research into the business or job description. Attending without any prior research will damper you chances of being accepted.
Talk a little about your personality and related interests, mentioning any awards or achievements. Discuss if you have had experience in a childcare setting or child-minded before even if it’s looking after your brother/sister/niece/nephew. The employer will be able to see if you would be a great fit for their childcare apprenticeship.
Implement your research on the sector into your answer. For example, mention if you have any prior training in Safeguarding, health and social care qualifications or any experience. Explain why you are passionate about pursuing a career in childcare and why they should choose you.
Reflecting on an example of when you prioritised tasks is a positive way to show competency in a role and demonstrates organisational skills. This question can also give an indication of how well you react in an urgent situation.
An answer to this question requires an element of story telling and is a good time to show your positive traits and team – player qualities. You could discuss compromising and finding a solution to suit each person involved etc.
Strengths – Mention two or three strengths (for example, communicating effectively, time management and organisational skills) and give an example of one of them.
Weaknesses – This is where you can show you are honest, can self-evaluate and are keen to improve. Choose a positive aspect of your personality and mention how this can be slightly detrimental.
Although this is slightly personal, this gives the employer an insight into yourself as a person as well as the roles you may wish to progress to. For example, motivation to build a successful career in the sector to work with children and young people, also mention what makes you want to work with them.
Be honest about your reasons for leaving your last role. However, don’t slander your previous employer if you are leaving on bad terms. Instead mention wanting a career with more opportunities for progression or how the role you are interviewing for is a much better fit for you.
Use this time to ask questions about the business, daily operations or their expectations of you as an employee in this role. Do not ask questions about the company that could have been answered previously with an online search. Aim to ask open ended questions that won’t result in the employer just giving a yes or no answer.
One way to help you prepare is to look at practice questions ( You can view some example questions to the right side with hints and tips on how to answer ), as this will help you understand what the employer may ask.
Other ways to help you prepare can include:
- Writing notes about the business, apprenticeship duties etc.
- Print off your CV – can use this to help you for answers
- Plan what to wear the night before
- ALWAYS plan your journey – check travel times, traffic etc.
The more you prepare, the higher the chance that the interview will be successful be on your way to start the childcare apprenticeship.
For your interview you still need to look presentable and put together, but wear items that are easy to move in. As you would be interacting with young children in your interview process, it is essential that you wear items that you can move in easily. You should wear attire such as:
- Smart trousers/shirt, smart shoes, clean and styled hair, no loose jewellery – avoid long necklaces, hoop earrings etc.
(or any smart business attire that you feel comfortable in)
Even though you can wear more comfortable clothing, you still need to look smart so avoid jeans, trainers and casual t-shirts. No matter what role you apply/attend interview for, dressing appropriately will increase your chances of securing the perfect apprenticeship and give you the confidence to have a successful interview.
Make an Impact
First impressions are key when it comes to an interview; if you arrive looking unpresentable, late and with an attitude the employer will automatically decide that you are unsuccessful. Arriving in suitable attire (as stated above) and at least 10 – 15 minutes earlier will already increase your chances. Other ways to make an impact include:
- Having a bubbly and optimistic personality – always have a smile and say hello
- Give a firm handshake – shows confidence and professionalism
- Don’t talk badly about previous employers – doing this can give off the impression that you are unprofessional
- Always go into detail when answering questions – avoid one word answers, talk about processes and outcomes
- Sit upright – never slouch when sitting down
- Ensure you don’t fidget or mess with objects – looks like you’re bored or nervous
- Always say ‘thank you’ when the interview is finished
Interview Preparation Tasks
1. Read the Interview Confirmation email thoroughly – Familiarise yourself with the location that your interview will take place at. Check transport times. Read through any extra details or helpful advice in the email ton help you prepare.
2. Research the company you are interviewing for the position at – Look at their website and social media accounts. Find out who founded the company and when, what the company does, who their clients or customers are. The employer will ask what you know about the company, so find out as much as possible.
3. Have 2 open questions prepared to ask the employer about their company – After you have researched the company prepare at least two questions to ask the employer about the company. Make sure you aren’t asking questions that are already answered on the website.
4. Study the Job Description and think about what your transferrable skills are – Consider what would be expected of you in the role on a day to day basis. Work out which skills you have that would benefit the company and keep these in mind when you are talking about how you are the perfect candidate.
5. Research the company’s competitors if they have any – Being able to give suggestions and ideas for improvement at the company is a great way to show you are informed and proactive.