Nursery placements have allowed Courtney to gain industry experience

We had the pleasure of speaking to Courtney McAndrew about her work placements in the industry and how these opportunities have not only allowed her to build on her CV but they’ve also reinforced her decision to become a professional in the field.

We asked Courtney why she decided to study Childhood Studies after school and whether there was a catalyst for her passion.

“After school, I used to take care of my little Cousin as his Mum was at work. I’d love to feed him, change him, and play with him when he was about one, he’s six now. That’s what got me into it. I was also really good at Childcare in school, we had a Childcare lesson each week and that was the one that I passed with flying colours.”

College seemed a bit overwhelming for Courtney at first but the fear soon subsided and after Level 1 she went straight on to study her Level 2.

“When I had my induction day to come here, I thought I’m never going to get used to this because it’s massive, there are lifts, how am I going to know where I’m going, so I was really scared to come here. After the first week, I was fine, I knew where I was going, and I calmed down a lot. After my first year, I decided I may as well carry on to Level 2 and see where I go from there.”

“After my Level 2, I had a year out to do my maths and English and then decided to come back to do my Level 3. I didn’t want to have to worry about them anymore.

I could have done my maths and English alongside my Level 3 Course, but it would have been too much work for me. I have been trying to get them since school and have been so close each time. I was on catch up sessions twice a week so I could pass. I passed in the November, I was so happy, and my mum was absolutely thrilled.”

Courtney McAndrew

Courtney was able to take the skills she learned on her modules into her work placements both at the nurseries and reception work. She also told us how the practical skills she learned on her work placements have allowed her to better understand her theory at college.

“I have taken the skills I’ve learnt at college into my placements. I did my first placement at school for a week, and I’ve done three since starting college. Three nurseries and one at reception. Doing placements, I actually get to work with children which is a whole new thing after looking after one child and then going into a class with lots of children. Placements have given me work experience, physical knowledge and taught me how to problem-solve. The placements have allowed me to apply my knowledge and implement techniques we learn on the course. It gives you a better understanding of why you are learning about something and how that unit can be used in real life.”

We asked Courtney if she had advice for those finishing school and wanting to study childcare but are conflicted about where to study and what will suit their career progression.

“Going to college has been the best route for me. I didn’t want to go to Sixth Form, I just wanted to go to college so I could focus on one subject. It depends on where you think will help your career path.

Even if you change your mind, it isn’t a bad thing. If it’s not for you, you can change course. If you want to go for it, do it! No matter which level, if you don’t like it, you can change to something else. It’s a good starting point.”

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