Employer of the Year - Tinysaurus Nursery

28 February 2017

Tinysaurus Nursery has been offering apprenticeships in partnership with YMCA Training over the last 11 years – delivering a total of more than 300 successful programmes in this time. Due to its commitment to apprenticeships – the time and money invested in creating a bespoke offering – it has been awarded the Central YMCA ‘Employer of the Year’ apprenticeship award.

Boasting a workforce of 130, of which 50% are apprentices, Tinysaurus Nursery recognises the value such schemes provide and takes great pride in the apprenticeship programme it offers employees. In fact, the majority of its current management staff came through its doors as apprentices and gradually worked upward towards promotion.

Tiny only by name

When it comes to the Tinysaurus apprenticeship scheme, the company has proven that it is tiny only in name by investing considerable resource – financially and both in terms of effort and time – in creating a bespoke programme. With input from all levels of the business, the Tinysaurus programme has been developed in line with the advice of external training providers, such as YMCA Training, and other industry professionals.

From the top down, the management team spend many hours planning for the recruitment of apprentices – ensuring the advertising of positions will reach as many potential recruits as possible, and once recruited, ensuring all apprentices receive full training immediately. The management team have worked hard to create an effective and highly professional system of support and learning.

The Tinysaurus take on training

Upon starting, new apprentices are put on an induction period of precise and highly-structured planned learning where they are able to gain a full understanding of the general rules in the workplace and the ethos of the business. However you’d be mistaken in thinking training is only reserved for new-starts; it’s instead treated as an ongoing process reaching all levels of the business.

When it comes to training, Tinysaurus holds evening courses and workshops arranged in partnership with highly-qualified and experienced speakers to learn about areas such as supervising to safeguard. And, as well as external help, the business also holds in-house training where managers and senior members of staff hold sessions to share best practice on the likes of food hygiene, fire safety awareness, and health and safety. The company also has a peer support system in place giving apprentices the opportunity to shadow more experienced members of staff so they can learn ‘hands-on’. All training delivered is self-funded and crafted in line with industry-led thinking from some of the best trainers in early years development.

Realising the importance of feedback when it comes to training and development, Tinysaurus has in place a successful system of regular performance reviews and appraisals. Through this system, apprentices receive feedback on areas to improve and are rewarded for successful training completion and professional performance.

An employer of choice

Positioning itself as an employer of choice, the business offers a competitive remuneration package; apprentices on study leave or who are sitting exams still receive their salary in full. Tinysaurus also covers all travel expenses when employees have to attend training in different venues and has paid for each member of staff to attend training to become qualified at Level 3 Paediatric First Aid.

For Tinysaurus, apprenticeships have been a key offering since it launched in 2006. Apprentices have proven to be invaluable assets to the company and are recognised as being individuals motivated to learn and who bring fresh and up-to-date knowledge from their courses into practice. The company has invested time and resource in the programme and has shown that sometimes doing it by half – that is making up half of your workforce with apprentices, can pay off.