Eligible working families whose children will be aged between 9 and 23 months old on 31 August can now apply to receive 15 hours childcare starting from September 2024.

Find out more information on the Childcare Choices website

Early Years

Get Started, Get Qualified!

Get Started, Get Qualified!

Start work now and get a qualification on the job!

Get Started

If you don’t hold a qualification you can volunteer or become a trainee with an Early Years or childcare setting.

Volunteering before starting a qualification

Early Years and Childcare Trainee

Get Qualified

To gain a qualification through a classroom-based course, you can get approved qualifications through a range of training providers to access;

Level 1 courses are usually offered at school and should be at least 14 years old to start this course. There are no specific entry requirements but colleges or training providers may have their own guidelines.

Level 2 (equivalent to GCSEs) is suitable to start for post 16 students and be access as a diploma or as an apprenticeship.

Level 3 courses (equivalent to A Levels). This qualification is suitable to start for post 16 student and be access as a diploma or as an apprenticeship.

T Levels courses (equivalent to 3 A Levels). This qualification is suitable for post-16 students looking to develop both knowledge and practical skills in the education and early years sector. This is a technical qualification which supports students on to a range of progression routes including employment, higher education and higher apprenticeships.

What is a T Level?


Early Years Apprenticeships and Returnerships combine real work with training and study for a specific role. You’ll learn new skills, gain experience and earn a salary too. There are two entry-level early years apprenticeships:

  • level 2 early years practitioner
  • level 3 early years educator

Both apprenticeships are suitable for those with no previous experience. Level 2 may be more suitable for those leaving school at 16. It allows you to work in an early years setting under supervision, supporting the planning and delivery of education and care for 0-5 year olds, and is an excellent entry point into the sector.
Level 3 may be more suitable for those who want to plan, organise and lead enriching learning activities, and perhaps supervise others. This qualification also enables you to be counted within the staff:child ratio guidelines in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework settings have to follow, which is something employers will be looking for

Early Years Educator apprenticeships (Skills for Life) Spark imaginations and make a difference while you earn as you learn. For further information, visit Early Years Educator (apprenticeships.gov.uk).

Apprentice factsheet

Apprenticeships in Early Years

Returnerships Leaflet



Already have a qualification!

If you already have a qualification that you think might allow you to work in early years it is important to check if it is an approved qualification. Check with your manager or training provider if the qualification has been approved by the Department for Education. Check if you can work as a level 2 or level 3 member of staff to be included as part of the Ofsted ratios.

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