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The Fennies Graduate Scheme

Our Fennies graduate, Rose, shares her experience with the Fennies Graduate Scheme

A group of six colleagues, smiling in a casual office break room with a round table and various snack bowls, using a smartphone for a selfie.

Having worked at Fennies for 4 years and within the Early Years sector for 6 years, I was looking for progression and a way to further my learning and that’s when the Fennies Graduate Scheme came along and did exactly that. 

It’s been a year since I started the Graduate Scheme, and I have just begun my second year. Looking back at my first year, I realise how much knowledge and experience I’ve gained from the program. The Graduate Scheme is a two-year programme that provides degree-holders with the opportunity to explore all areas of Early Years and various roles offered by Fennies. During the initial year, you get to interact with a diverse group of people and gain first-hand experience of their respective roles, ranging from managers to recruitment and even the education team. During the second year, you select a position that you’re interested in and spend the year studying this role in greater detail while also earning a qualification that will help you fulfil this role. 

My first year has been filled with countless learning opportunities. One year ago, I held the position of Preschool Room Leader, which I enjoyed. However, I wanted to broaden my horizons and advance in my chosen career path. My first year in the Graduate scheme involved four rotations, which gave me the opportunity to work in all positions and gain a thorough understanding of how each role contributes towards creating the right start for under 5s within our settings. 

Two smiling women wearing lanyards and id badges stand side by side in front of a house with a car and plants visible in the background.

During my first rotation, I worked with the learning and development team. This group is responsible for providing training and development, apprenticeships, placements, and Fennies Induction to all practitioners. My focus was to gain a comprehensive understanding of the training methodologies used at Fennies. I had the chance to participate in manager meetings, Room Leader Programme and even contributed to writing training content for our new Fennies online training platform. Additionally, I took the opportunity to support our apprentices, learning about their role, understanding how they learn, and celebrating them during National Apprenticeship Week. Being part of the Fennies Induction and sharing my knowledge with new staff members was an unforgettable experience and one of my highlights during this rotation. 

My second rotation was dedicated exclusively to management. During this time, I was exposed to various settings where I learned about different management styles, techniques, and teamwork. It was a pleasure to work closely with children again, creating engaging environments and activities that contributed to their learning and development. Additionally, I was given the opportunity to learn about opening a new site. From sorting furniture to ordering resources and attending coffee mornings for prospective parents, I was involved in every aspect of the process. Seeing the children attend on their first day was a gratifying experience. Having gained this experience, I am now better equipped to open new sites in the future or assist new managers. 

During my third rotation, I had the opportunity to work with our Education Team. I was able to collaborate with all of our specialists, gaining insight into how they boost our curriculum and design play-based sessions. Additionally, I worked closely with Ruth, our educational advisor, who taught me a lot about our Fennies Curriculum and how to promote it to our practitioners. Together, we prepared a day of inspiration for practitioners and managers which was an incredible learning experience. Lastly, I worked with Paula, our Regional SENCO, which allowed me to learn more about how we can provide assistance and support to children with special educational needs, as well as how to observe children. Working with Paula provided me with a deep understanding of the role of our nursery SENCOs, and how to fulfill this role if I were to work within a management team in the future.

Four people in a casual office meeting, one presenting on a laptop. they are seated around in a relaxed manner, with colorful chairs visible.

During my final rotation, I had the chance to collaborate with our support office team. This included working alongside marketing, admissions, recruitment, and even HR. It was eye-opening to see how these various teams contributed to the children’s learning and development. As my first year came to a close, I realized that I wanted to pursue a management position in my second year. While working with these teams, I was able to learn how they could support me as a manager and how I could reciprocate that support. 

Now I am going into year two feeling excited about the opportunities that lie ahead of me. I have had such a range of experiences within my first year and I am looking forward to going into year two with more knowledge and experience and passing on my learning to my fellow employees. I am focusing on how to become a deputy manager and will be spending time over the next year with a range of different management teams to help me become the best deputy manager I can. 

After a year filled with diverse experiences, I’m eager to take on the new opportunities that await me in my second year. My goal is to utilize the knowledge and experience I’ve gained, and share it with my colleagues. I’m determined to become the best deputy manager possible, and will be spending the next year working closely with various management teams to achieve this. 


Fennies Graduate

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