ANDOVER College assistant principal Suzanne Grant was up to her elbows in foam with childcare apprentice Shannon Smith as she went ‘back to the floor’ at The Oaktree Nursery in Whitchurch.

Suzanne rolled up her sleeves and got stuck in with the children to celebrate the college’s first class apprenticeship programme during National Apprenticeship Week last week.

Nursery director Emma Longton was delighted that Suzanne joined her team for the day and could see for herself the high standard of training being delivered in partnership with Andover College.

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

Shannon is in the second year of her apprenticeship having completed her level 2 ahead of schedule and is now ready to advance to the level 3 programme.

She 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.”

Oaktree Nursery prides itself on exceptionally high standards and is committed to training new entrants to the profession.

Emma considers the apprenticeship programme the “gold standard”

of training. She said: “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.”

Andover Colleges offers a huge range of apprenticeships from accounting to veterinary nursing and, of course, childcare.