An Angmering nursery is celebrating after its apprenticeship scheme helped a teenage boy with his dream of becoming a teacher.
Cameron Harmer, 19, did well in his GCSEs and started A-levels in history, chemistry and physics but dropped out of school after becoming disillusioned with the system.
Thinking his dream of becoming a teacher was over, Cameron started work at Beech Tree Childcare, based at Worthing Rugby Club, the week after his 17th birthday.
Heather Harmer, owner and manager, said: “Cameron always wanted to be a teacher. However, he quickly realised that he didn’t like the A-level structure and became disillusioned. He left college after six months, thinking he would never become a teacher.
“He started his Level 3 apprenticeship for the early years workforce (early years educator, which meant he could learn while he worked and attended Northbrook College once a week.”
Through professional development and training, Cameron’s passion for early years grew.
In October last year, he went to an open day at Brighton University, curious to see if he could apply with only GCSEs, a Level 3 qualification and his passion for early years education.
The head of the course chatted with him and told him to apply, then in May, he was invited for an interview. Two weeks later, Cameron had an unconditional offer for the BA (Hons) in education, a course he started last week.
Cameron said: “It has been a privilege to be part of children’s learning and development and helping them for their future learning.
“I have been given a strong foundation at Beech Tree Childcare through their training and support whilst as an apprentice and a member of the team.
“I never thought I would have been able to get into university and Beech Tree made me believe in myself.”
Heather said 20 per cent of the workforce at Beech Tree was male, compared to the national average of 2 per cent.
She added: “Having a male nursery worker can make a huge difference, especially to children of one-parent families who may not have a male role model.
“It can also help to eradicate gender stereotypes and encourage fathers to interact more with the nursery and engage with their children.
“A workforce that promotes a balance of male and female educators will provide children with the widest range of experiences, skills and opportunities that will only benefit their learning and development during their time in early years.”
Beech Tree Childcare currently has three apprentices working on their Level 3 qualification.