A NEW apprenticeship programme to help improve outcomes in the education of young children – and develop the quality of staff joining early years teaching – has been launched in York.

Education Pathways, the training arm of York-based Ebor Academy Trust, is behind the “Early Years Educator” apprenticeship programme, which is for people working in early years including pre-school playgroups, reception classes, day nurseries and children’s centres. It has the backing of City of York Council as it meets the challenge of two of their key priorities.

Barbara Mands, head of early years and childcare at City of York Council, said: “We are committed to ensuring that all the city’s children get the best start in life and to attracting staff to join the early years workforce, which can be an extremely rewarding career.

“This programme helps to address those needs.”

The programme has been developed over several years, with the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education saying: “The result is a rigorous and high-quality standard ready to serve the early years sector which will help to revolutionise early years education for employers, young children and workers alike.”

Sue Hinchcliffe, director of apprenticeships at Education Pathways, said: “This high quality programme is designed to develop Early Years specialists and is well-equipped to play a key role in ensuring that young children learn and develop, are kept healthy and safe and are able to reach their maximum potential.

“With additional experience, on completion of this programme an Early Years Educator can become the manager of an early years setting.”

The programme will take a minimum of 18 months to complete with on the job and off the learning, which includes 16 face-to-face training days. It is the third to be announced by Education Pathways, set up by Ebor Academy Trust, and is free to early years staff working in apprenticeship levy paying organisations – the others are Level 3 TA Apprenticeship programme and Level 4 School Business Professional Apprenticeship.

On successful completion of the course, Early Years Educator apprentices receive a nationally recognised Level 3 qualification as well as the Level 3 award in paediatric first aid.

Ebor currently operates 24 schools, which in York includes Robert Wilkinson, Haxby Road, Hob Moor Community Primary Academy, Hob Moor Oaks, Lakeside Primary Academy, Park Grove Primary and Osbaldwick Primary.

It also has other schools in Selby, the East Riding and on the Yorkshire Coast. Two more schools joined the trust in July.

For more on the course go to www.ebor.academy