Kirstie Morgan

Kirstie is a CCPLD Level 3 apprentice at Building Blocks Day Nursery in Neath. Here she describes applying the techniques she learnt from her course into one-to-one sessions for children with additional needs.

In January 2022, Kirstie Morgan won the TSW Training Apprenticeships Learner Of The Month award. We were lucky enough to chat to her about her experiences so far. Here she tells us about finding motivation for her CCPLD Level 3 course after transferring between training providers and meeting her Training Advisor, Michelle David...

Hello Kirstie! Please would you introduce yourself?

Hi, I’m Kirstie Morgan and I work at Building Blocks Day Nursery in Neath. I am a one-to-one worker with children with additional needs

I joined Building Blocks 10 years ago, starting with the CCPLD Level 2 and picking up the CCPLD Level 3 in 2016!

The Level 3 has been a long road and I haven’t had the easiest experience. I’ve had several tutors. My training provider went under and the work I submitted was missing or needed to be re-done. I was so close to giving it up.

It was my manager, Stacey, who told me about TSW and made me think about finishing the qualification.

When I signed up with TSW Training and met my TA, Michelle, everything changed! She was instantly like a friend to me and gave me the boost I needed to carry on. Now, I am just a few months away from completing my Level 3.

"The training is specific to the conditions of the children I work with who have additional needs. I find it incredibly helpful."

Are you enjoying your apprenticeship?

I am now! It’s the knowledge I get from it I really like. I naturally use lots of the techniques as part of my role, but the apprenticeship feels like a recap. It relates directly to my job, which makes it easy to apply.

The training is specific to the conditions of the children I work with who have additional needs. I find it incredibly helpful.

What appealed to you about your role with Resolven Building Blocks?

I’m 10 years in so it’s got to be a good job!

I started off as a casual staff member, a bit of after school club work. Then I went onto to work in childcare, developing my role in one-to-one work.

Has the apprenticeship improved how you do your job?

It has given me knowledge, understanding and techniques to use with the children.

It’s hard to pick a favourite aspect of the apprenticeship because you learn so much. But it’s noticeable how closely you can work with the children during the one-to-ones, understand their needs and know exactly how to support them.

I find I apply the same techniques from my apprenticeship for different children in different ways. I need to be adaptable and flexible because every one-to-one and situation is unique. The apprenticeship has shown me how to do that.

"It’s noticeable how closely you can work with the children during the one-to-ones, understand their needs and know exactly how to support them."

Let’s talk about your TSW Training TA, Michelle David. How does she support you?

Michelle and I have been able to meet in person three times over the last few months, as well as chatting over the phone. We’ve been quite lucky.

When I met Michelle, I had worked with so many different tutors by that point, I really didn’t expect someone new to put me on the right path. But she did! She came in and started talking, it flowed. I was nervous, but she put me at ease and gave me the support I needed. She said: ‘You can do it!’ and I did!

"I can speak as someone who lost all motivation and then came roaring back! Michelle helped me to see that I could do it."

How does Resolven Building Blocks support you, and its apprentices?

I have had lovely support from my manager, Stacey.

It’s been a long road, but Stacey wanted me to finish it. She’s seen a change in me since I started with Michelle.

Now we’re talking about me taking the Level 5 CCPLD! If you’d asked me last year, I would have said: “Absolutely not, never again” but I’m into it now and I can’t wait!

We have a few apprentices in our setting and we’re all supported massively. If I’m ever struggling, they’ll sit down with me and help me to work out what I need to do.

They also encourage us to share and discuss what we’re working on. They want us to continue our learning to make it a brilliant environment for the children.

They celebrate when we do well. I think they’ll throw me a party when I finish!

ccpld level 3 banner

 

What motivates you to learn?

My son was born in 2014 and that’s when I had just finished my level 2. I needed that qualification to do my job and just be in the room with the children. When I finished that I was encouraged to go onto my Level 3.

My daughter was born in 2016. She developed complications and needed a lot of support. That’s what encouraged me to learn more. I thought: “I can go further,” and it’s helped me to work with children who have additional needs at Building Blocks.

Putting the work in now will give you so many opportunities in the future. Many of my colleagues have gone on to have amazing careers after their apprenticeships. We have students in now and I say to them: “Show up. Show us what you can do,” and they end up doing so well!

 

It sounds like you bring a lot of empathy to your role, and extra context that not many other apprentices will have?

Yes, I see so many ways I can transfer what I’ve learnt to support both the children in my care and support my daughter at home.

I can imagine your empathy and skills give parents a unique peace of mind?

I do get that with my one-to-one children. One of the children in my care won’t settle for anyone else, only me. That makes me feel so proud.

We’re six or seven months into their care now and the child hasn’t cried once, whereas in the parent’s experience, prior to building blocks, the child would cry whenever they left him. The parents are so appreciative.

Do you think those experiences are making you happier at work?

Yes 100%. If anyone asks me: “Do you like the job?” My answer is: “Of course, yes I do!”

What are your top tips for balancing work and an apprenticeship?

I can speak as someone who lost all motivation and then came roaring back! Michelle helped me to see that I could do it. Once I had the confidence, it was just setting aside the appropriate time to do the work, and once you’re focused, it just rolls.

Having a young family, how do you find the time to do your apprenticeship work?

After putting my children to bed, I do it then. Or, I use my time off on my day off to get it all done. I get in the working mindset.

What advice would you give to people thinking of taking up an apprenticeship?

Go for it!

Putting the work in now will give you so many opportunities in the future. Many of my colleagues have gone on to have amazing careers after their apprenticeships. We have students in now and I say to them: “Show up. Show us what you can do,” and they end up doing so well!

What are your career aspirations? Where will we see you in 10 years?

I am so happy where I am! In 10 years, if I was still here, I would be so happy. It’s a lovely place to be. All the children come to me and want to be with me. I live in the moment I’m really enjoying every part of my job right now.