Apprenticeships helping Cardiff day nursery to develop skilled childcare staff

A Cardiff-based Welsh language day nursery is using apprenticeships to develop skilled workers to provide the best care possible for families and children.

Si Lwli, which has 20 employees and is located in Whitchurch, shares best practice with and learns from other nurseries to ensure that staff continuously improve their skills and knowledge.

The company has seven apprentices working towards Apprenticeships in Childcare from Levels 2 to 4 and both managers, Kimberley Hellyar and Sophie Lewis, have completed a Higher Apprenticeship (Level 5) in Leadership and Management. All the apprenticeships are delivered by Ystrad Mynach-based training provider Educ8 Training.

Recognising the commitment to apprentices, Si Lwli has been shortlisted for the Small and Medium Employer of the Year Award at the prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2022. The winners will be announced at a virtual awards ceremony on November 10.

The awards highlight the outstanding achievements, during unprecedented times, of employers, apprentices and work-based learning practitioners.

Highlight of the year for apprentices, employers and work-based learning providers and practitioners, the awards are organised by the Welsh Government and supported by the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW). Headline sponsor for the third year is Openreach.

The nursery’s mission is to support the sensitive linguistic needs of all families by building positive relationships and supporting the Welsh language.

Si Lwli says apprenticeships have enabled the nursery to build a reputation for delivering quality care by training, developing and retaining skilled staff.

“Si Lwli’s apprenticeship programme has been running since the company started a decade ago and has made a real difference to the business,” said Kimberley. “Apprenticeships are at the heart of our learning and business growth.

“They provide the theory and reasons behind why we do what we do and have helped the wider team to understand why they have certain practices in place and how these benefit the children.

“We pride ourselves on finding talent and people who have a genuine passion for the sector, helping the future generation of childcare providers get a first step into the industry.

“Everyone should have the opportunity to develop their skills, knowledge and expertise and an apprenticeship can help people achieve their long-term career aspirations.”

By working closely with the nursery, trainer coach Rhian Weeks, from Educ8 Training, tailors flexible training to the needs of individual apprentices, including those with additional learning needs.

Induction mentoring, regular one to one guidance, performance reviews and appraisals and mental health and wellbeing support are all included in individual learning plans.

“The partnership with Educ8 Training has ensured that our apprenticeship programme has matured and continually evolved,” added Kim.

Rhian Weeks, from Educ8 Training, said: “Si Lwli goes above and beyond for its staff, giving them tremendous support to progress their skills, reach their potential and provide the best service possible for the children in its care.

“The company is a huge advocate of lifelong development and work-based learning.”

Congratulating Si Lwli and all the other shortlisted finalists, Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said: “Apprenticeships make a huge contribution to our economy and will be crucial as Wales continues to bounce back from the pandemic.

“They can help futureproof, motivate and diversify a workforce, offering people the chance to gain high-quality vocational skills.

“As part of our Young Person’s Guarantee, the Welsh Government will be investing £366 million over the next three years to deliver 125,000 all-age apprenticeships across Wales during the current term of government.

“We want to increase opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to develop transferable skills in the workplace and improve their lives. The investment will also help tackle skills shortages and gaps in priority sectors critical to drive productivity and economic growth, supporting our net zero ambitions, the every-day foundational economy and public services.”

The Apprenticeship Programme is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund. For more information about recruiting an apprentice, visit: or call 03000 603000.

Picture caption:

Si Lwli manager Kim Hellyar with nursery practitioner apprentices Alex Williams and Siwan Bennett.

Si Lwli manager Kim Hellyar with staff.