Being able to offer apprenticeships has helped award-winning childcare provider Tiddlywinks Day Nursery to recruit and retain high calibre staff and grow the business to three locations in the past five years.

The company, which has settings in Margam and Cwmavon, currently has five apprentices in its workforce of 22. TSW Training delivers a Higher Apprenticeship (Level 5) in Playwork at the nursery.

Now, Tiddlywinks Day Nursery has been shortlisted for the prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2024 as a Small Employer of the Year finalist. 

Highlight of the year for apprentices, employers and work-based learning providers and practitioners, the awards are organised by the Welsh Government and supported by the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW). Headline sponsor is EAL.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony to be held at ICC Wales, Newport on March 22, 2024. The awards highlight the outstanding achievements of employers, apprentices and work-based learning practitioners.

“The apprenticeship programme is integral to the development of our team,” said Vicky Williams,business owner, who praises the close partnership with TSW Training.

“Having a strong foundation of highly skilled and qualified staff was evident in the positive inspection report we received from Care Inspectorate Wales. We are determined to keep growing in numbers and improving our standards for the foreseeable future.”

Tiddlywinks Day Nursery’s mission is to provide affordable, quality childcare in a homely environmentwhere children, aged from two to 12 years, feel safe, secure, respected and challenged to reach their full potential.

All staff have achieved or are working towards qualifications relevant to their role – from Foundation Apprenticeship through to Higher Apprenticeship (Level 5) and degree level.

All current apprentices have completed Prentis-Iaith courses to develop their confidence to speak the Welsh language in the workplace. They also research latest childcare practices and share new ways of working with their colleagues, as part of the nursery’s focus on innovation.

Winner of five Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council Childcare Awards in 2022, Tiddlywinksstayed open throughout the Covid-19 pandemic to support key workers and engaged a specialist coach to ensure the health and wellbeing of staff.

The company arranges for children to play games and sing to the senior citizens at three localnursing homes, boosting the wellbeing and education of both groups.

Sarah Elston, TSW Training’s quality director, said: “Tiddlywinks’ approach to investing in and developing staff has enabled the organisation to grow and continually improve in its support of and impact on the local community.”

Economy Minister Vaughan Gething congratulated Tiddlywinks Day Nursery and all the other finalists.

“Today’s apprentices will be tomorrow’s specialists, and Apprenticeship Awards Cymru allows us to recognise apprentices, work-based learning practitioners, and employers that have gone above and beyond,” he said.

“Their tenacity, passion, and commitment to growing their own careers, the careers of others, and the larger Welsh economy is inspiring. I wish each of the finalists the best of luck at the awards and with their future endeavours.”

Congratulating the finalists, Al Parkes, managing director at EAL, said: “As the specialist awarding organisation and skills partner for the engineering and manufacturing industry, apprenticeships in Wales are especially important to us.

“Apprenticeships play an important role in supporting personal progress through career opportunities and a sense of achievement, while ensuring that employers have the right skills at the right time to keep up with evolving industry needs.

“EAL is committed to encouraging employers to take on apprentices. Marking the achievements of employers, apprentices and work-based learning practitioners at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru is vital to this.”

For more information about recruiting an apprentice, visit: https://gov.wales/apprenticeships-genius-decision or call 03000 603000.

Picture caption: 

Tiddlywinks Day Nursery owner Vicky Williams (centre) with apprentices Kirsty Moores, Adriana Holland, Melissa Johnson and Leanne Edwards.