A COLLEGE principal helped out at a nursery for the day to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week.

Suzanne Grant, from Andover College, rolled up her sleeves and was up to her elbows in foam with childcare apprentice Shannon Smith, at The Oaktree Nursery in Whitchurch.

Emma Longton, nursery director, said: “Shannon is an exceptional apprentice and has worked hard to meet the high standards of care and professionalism we require of our staff.”

She added: “We pride ourselves on our investment in training, and find apprenticeships are the best option. Nothing beats practical experience and it is important to us that we have a trained talent pool for our industry.”

Shannon, who is in the second year of her apprenticeship, said: “I really enjoy gaining on-the-job experience as well as learning the theory.

“There is so much to consider – health and safety, child development, diet and nutrition and the nursery helps me put my theoretical knowledge into practice.”

Talking about her experience at the nursery, Ms Grant said: “I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with the children and working alongside Shannon who is clearly a natural with the little ones.

“Emma and her team epitomise what the apprenticeship programme is all about – high standards of training, formal qualifications and improved job prospects for trainees.

“Research shows that qualified apprentices are considered to be 15 per cent more employable than non-apprentices, so committing to an apprenticeship is a real investment.”