FEATURED APPRENTICE STORIES

YMCA Trinity Group

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Joshua Gallon as part of his duties as an Apprentice Early Years Assistant was required to work with children whose parents were essential workers during the pandemic. He was part of a small team who provided a safe, nurturing environment for those children – some of whom were not seeing their parents as often as usual due to the long working hours through the height of Covid-19. Joshua was supporting children with their emotional and physical needs by providing high quality, stimulating, fun activities.

During Covid-19 the assistant role changed quite dramatically for Joshua as he was moved to a different site within our Childcare to form part of a small ‘bubble’ of staff and children. Joshua was required to work with children whose parents were keyworkers ie NHS, Care home or retail staff. This meant Joshua had to take on more responsibilities than our apprentices would normally have to, supporting the more experienced staff in offering activities that continued to challenge and excite the children who were attending, whilst also supporting the children’s mental wellbeing at a difficult time. Many of these children were missing time with their parents as they were working long hours in the fight against the disease, and it was important for Joshua to keep the routines as normal as possible for the children.

Joshua worked with his small team of staff to ensure the children were still able to visit our allotment site, something that was so desperately needed for some of the children who attend our sites as they live in the high rise blocks of flats in the town. Many of these do not have access to garden space, and when the local parks were closed this freedom to run and enjoy fresh air was so greatly needed.

Joshua also supported Vulnerable children, including those with Child Protection orders, as they attended our site during this time too. As one of the most deprived towns in the UK, we had quite a few children who needed additional support during this time. Joshua’s calm, fun, committed manner meant the children were happy and excited to be here – and it gave them a release from any other stresses going on in their lives. Due to his close working with the children, Joshua is able to provide a positive, male role model for our children –  something, i feel, is desperately needed in the Early Years sector.