Apprentices make up more than half the workforce at Shiremoor adventure playground in North Tyneside, enabling the company to provide children with more one to one support.
Shiremoor adventure playground in North Tyneside provides five to 13 year olds with opportunities for adventurous play in a staffed, safe environment.
Manager Keeks McGarry says during the peak summer season, up to 300 children can use the facility on a single day: “Having a high ratio of staff to children is key to providing quality playwork service.”
Motivated by the need for more staff, Keeks recruited four apprentices to join his team of three fulltime workers in August 2011. One of those is Natasha Killeen, 17, who is completing her level 2 Apprenticeship in Playwork.
Natsaha says: “I’d always wanted to work with children. An Apprenticeship allowed me to gain paid experience in the field and recognised qualifications to kick start my career.
An average day for Natasha involves setting up the facility and engaging children in activities such as drawing or football, as well as additional duties such as cleaning. On Thursdays and Fridays she attends Tyne Metropolitan College to gain the knowledge component of her apprenticeship.
“It’s a really challenging role because you have to adapt your methods depending on whether you’re working with a five year old or a 13 year old,” she says.
Keeks says Apprenticeships help professionalise the sector, and promote playwork as a viable career option.
“Apprenticeships provide a clear entry point for people looking for a career in playwork. We now have several students on work placement wanting to start their career in playwork with an Apprenticeship.”
To learn more about Apprenticeships in the sport and active leisure sector, and how your business can benefit, please register your interest at www.skillsactive.com/takethelead