Minister David Jonston Visits Tops Havant for Apprenticeship Week

On 8th February, David Jonston, MP and Minister for Children and Families, visited Tops Day Nurseries Havant to discuss all things apprenticeships with colleagues at Tops along with trainers / apprentices trained by Aspire Training Team as part of their focus on National Apprenticeship Week. Alan Mak, MP for Havant, also joined for this visit and celebration, further emphasising the importance of this initiative.

Katie Mann, a trainer from Aspire Training Team, a specialist Early Years training provider, and 4 of her apprentices from Tops Havant and Tops Portsmouth did a fantastic job of showcasing to David and Alan just what being an Early Years apprentice is all about, discussing their roles and setting up activities for everyone to take part in. David also took part in presenting their National Apprenticeship gifts to them that Aspire Training Team had prepared.

Expanding Childcare Funding: A Strategic Discussion

Moreover, by September 2025, most working families with children under 5 will get 30 hours of childcare support. David Jonston discussed its rollout with Harriet Pacey, Director for Tops Day Nurseries and Aspire Training Team, to ensure effective adaptation by providers like Tops Day Nurseries.

The changes are gradually introduced to ensure providers meet the needs of more families effectively. Starting April 2024, eligible working parents of 2-year-olds can access 15 hours of childcare. By September 2024, this support extends to eligible parents of 9-month-olds to 3-year-olds. From September 2025, eligible parents with children from 9 months to school age get 30 hours of childcare weekly.

Quotes from Tops Havant’s Visit:

“It was great to meet Maddie, Emily, Misty-Marie and Jack to learn about their experience as apprentices, discuss what’s next for them in their childcare careers and see up close the impact they’re having on our youngest children. Apprenticeships are a vital part of our drive to get more people into early years careers who will help deliver our largest ever government investment in childcare, creating a new route for staff to learn on the job and get paid right away. This is on top of our national recruitment campaign which launched this week alongside a trial of £1,000 cash sign-on bonuses, to give nurseries and early years providers the workers they need and offer more childcare places for parents.”

David Jonston, Minister for Children and Families

Making childcare more affordable for parents, paying early years staff more and focusing on a workforce strategy can only be good for everyone, even short term, more parents, and grandparents could return to work thus paying more tax/receiving fewer benefits and taking pressure off employers with vacancies. In the long term, these investments in early childhood education yield significant benefits, as children who receive a strong start in their formative years are more likely to flourish academically, socially, and emotionally, setting them up for success later in life. So, prioritising affordability, fair wages, and workforce development in the childcare sector is not just beneficial in the short term but also lays the foundation for a healthier, more prosperous society in the years to come. Apprenticeships play a vital role in this equation, offering individuals valuable opportunities to gain skills and qualifications while contributing meaningfully to childcare provision. Ultimately, prioritising affordability, fair wages, and workforce development not only benefits individuals and families in the present but also lays the foundation for a healthier, more prosperous society in the years to come.

Cheryl Hadland, Founder and Chair of Tops Day Nurseries

Posted in: Education, General, Press