Success for UHI Shetland North Isles Lasses

Two UHI Shetland students Theresa Painter and Jaclyn Thomson have both completed their Graduate Apprenticeship alongside a 3 year degree programme in Early Learning and Childcare. They are 2 of only 15 people across Scotland to have achieved this graduate apprenticeship and degree.

The Scottish Government made a commitment to increasing the number of graduates employed in the Early Learning and Childcare sector in line with Blueprint 20:20 and the proposed expansion offering all entitled children 1140 hours of free Early Learning and Childcare.  To accommodate this, Skills Development Scotland in partnership with Scottish Social Services Council created a Graduate Apprenticeship in Early Learning and Childcare. 


UHI and the University of West of Scotland were only two Universities in Scotland to pilot this new and exciting award in 2019 with a total of 15 Apprentices participating in each University.  Two of these Apprentices where Jaclyn Thomson from Unst and Theresa Painter from Fetlar.  The apprenticeship involved working in the Nursery Department of Baltasound Junior High School, while simultaneously undertaking a 3 year degree!

The programme has now come the end of the pilot and has been approved by the Scottish Social Services Council as a practitioner award and will continue to grow beyond the pilot.


Jaclyn commented: “I feel that doing the GA has really helped update my knowledge and understanding of current practice within the Early Years. Completing the GA has also ignited a passion to help develop play in the Early Years and I would like to help parents, staff and other professionals understand how important all types of play are for child development. It's has been a tough slog but I am so proud that I have managed to complete my degree especially during very uncertain times during the pandemic.” 


Theresa said: “Throughout my three year graduate apprenticeship, I have learnt skills in practice to support working in ELC. I have completed a degree and the learning from this has helped me in the nursery. I've been really grateful for this opportunity and would like to thank BJHS for being such a great setting to work in.”