Inner Growth, Outer Shine

Navigating the world of learning and professional development

Written by Sharon Pilkington
on August 26, 2021

My name is Sharon Pilkington and I have been a childcare tutor/assessor for the past 15 years. My passion for early years came from my prior experience in the sector where I ran my own childminding business and I later went on to advise and support other childminders new to the role, setting up their businesses.

When the new Ofsted “Outstanding” grade was released many years ago, I was one of the first childminders to be awarded this grade and this is something I am very proud of.  I developed a thirst for learning and studied Level 3 childcare, before then moving on to achieve a 2:1 BA Honours in Childhood and Youth Studies Degree in 2018. I feel I have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share and thoroughly enjoy supporting others to achieve their childcare qualifications.

Throughout my time as a childcare tutor I have seen many changes and I am excited that the Standard in early years has now arrived as this really will help to raise the standard in childcare in general and ensure that learners undertaking these qualifications are confident and competent in their role and can provide an excellent service to the children and families that they work with. There will be many more progression opportunities available to learners now.

I am thrilled about the launch of the Level 5 apprenticeship as this will give childcare practitioners a progression route following completion of the Level 3 which can only help to improve and enhance childcare provision across the childcare sector. There are so many practitioners that will benefit from this qualification and help to further their knowledge - this will be a fantastic steppingstone for those wanting to achieve a full degree.

I would hope that this new programme will lead to career development opportunities within nurseries and lead to positive role models who can share their wealth of knowledge with their colleagues which, in turn, will improve provision for children and their families. I hope that this will lead to pathways that a learner can follow that will attract the appropriate salary for the level of skills that they have. It may also create promotional opportunities into senior management roles.

Hawk are the best provider to deliver this programme as they are not new to the childcare sector. Our vast experience delivering childcare at Level 2 and 3 will be drawn upon when setting up and delivering the Level 5 programme. It will consist of innovative teaching methods, a well-developed learning method and experienced knowledgeable tutors to support learner attainment.

Throughout the many changes within apprenticeships, Hawk are always ahead of the game, ensuring that robust processes and practices are in place prior to changes coming into effect. This means that the tutors who work there are proactive rather than reactive to these changes, can cope with the changes and still deliver an excellent service to their learners.  

The achievement of “outstanding” Ofsted grading is something that all tutors at Hawk strive to maintain as they are passionate and supportive to their learners and demonstrate good practice consistently to learners undertaking Level 2 and 3 childcare standards. This passion and support tutors offer will transfer to the Level 5 Standard and ensure positive learning experiences for learners enrolling on this programme.

For more information on Hawk's early years apprenticeships, visit:

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