Learner stories: "I want to be the best I can be in this sector" | NCFE

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Learner stories: "I want to be the best I can be in this sector"

Jenni Davidson is currently on a 16-19 study programme at Ullswater Community College. After completing her NCFE CACHE Technical Level 3 Certificate in Childcare and Education, she hopes to go on to further training to become a Norland Nanny. We caught up with Jenni – who was shortlisted in the NCFE Aspiration Awards 2023 for Learner of the Year – as well as Emma McCormick, the college’s Head of Child Studies, to find out more about Jenni’s experience. 

Jenni – why did you choose to study the L3 Technical Diploma in Childcare and Education (EYE)? 

“I’ve always wanted to work with young children and make a difference to their lives. My aim is to inspire young children and ensure they have the best start in life, as I know the earliest years are the most important. I knew I’d be well-supported throughout the course with good teaching and additional support as the teachers are experts in early years.” 

Which aspects of studying your qualification do you enjoy most? 

“I love the work experience placements because of real-life experience I get. Being placed in the real work environment means I find myself learning from other professionals and get to experience the feeling of being part of a professional and committed team of like-minded early years practitioners. I also enjoy the coursework parts of the course because it’s helped me develop good study habits and academic skills.  

“I enjoy working in the small class size because we get on well as we have the same aspirations; we come together every week after practice and reflect on our experiences.”  

What would you like to do at the end of your qualification? 

“I’m applying to go into Higher Education and study the Early Childhood Education and Care, BA Hons, and Norland diploma at Norland College. This qualification would allow be to become a Norland Nanny – a speaker came to talk to us about the role which inspired me to pursue this route. I know this is a prestigious role and I want to be the best I can be in this sector.” 

Would you recommend this qualification to other learners considering a career in early years? 

“I’d recommend it as it opens lots of options, not just nursery work - there are lots of career options. You get a full qualification at the end as well as UCAS points if you want to go to university. I’d recommend it as it’s a balance between school/sixth form and placement, so you get a range of opportunities. If you like children and families, the course is diverse and covers lots of different and interesting topics.” 

What advice would you give to others for studying this course?  

“Be resilient and throw yourself into the course fully! Get a diary so that you are organised. Attend placement every day, as this is the best part, you are like another member of staff and they rely on you. Always behave like a professional and act as a role model to everyone. Ask for help when you need it and don’t be afraid to try new things.  

“Don’t ever let other people say you can’t do something as there is always a way forward with the right mindset and attitude. Follow your dreams and work hard!” 

Jenni is just the kind of driven, engaging and curious student who helps to make the classroom a lively environment and safe place to ask questions and explore different concepts.  

Emma McCormick, Head of Child Studies, Ullswater Community College

Emma – Jenni was shortlisted in this year’s NCFE Aspiration Awards for Learner of the Year. Can you tell us more about Jenni and why she was nominated? 

“Jenni arrived at the college as a bright and enthusiastic young woman with a good sense of humour; much needed when working in early years! She quickly became a valued class member with her friendly disposition.   

“Jenni’s approach to her studies is serious and enthusiastic. Assignment work is completed to the very best of her ability, and Jenni applies herself with sheer determination in everything she does. She has the will to succeed and to make the best use of her studies. In the classroom, Jenni often demonstrates a level of growth above and beyond expectations. She is an active participant in class discussions, and often makes astute and insightful observations about early years topics, reflecting on her placement experiences and applying what she has learned. Jenni’s confidence and enthusiasm for learning is impressive.   

“Jenni has boundless energy which inspires those around her, together with high personal standards and integrity. What is particularly awe-inspiring about Jenni is how she balances her studies alongside her passion and enthusiasm for supporting others.   

“Jenni is a very active young person both in and out of school. Her desire to learn and achieve isn’t only reflected in her commitment to her studies but also in her participation in extracurricular activities. In school she helps the younger year groups with gymnastics and cheerleading, giving up her lunch breaks to help. Jenni also partakes in cheerleading herself, being a member of the UCC (Ullswater Community College) Wolves Cheerleading Squad, practising after school on a weekly basis. Jenni also represents the school in gymnastics; they have qualified for the National Finals for the second year running. This means hours of practising at lunchtimes and after school. Alongside these commitments, she achieved an A* in her very first EYE assignment, through her tenacious approach and ability to manage and prioritise her time.  

“Furthermore, Jenni gives up her time in the school holidays to help a young child who requires some support with their mental health and wellbeing – Jenni has developed a positive rapport with the child and is able to tune in to her needs and be a listening ear.  

“After attending a nursery work placement, the placement supervisor described Jenni as a remarkably calm and patient young woman who is ideally suited to working with children. Jenni quickly became part of the nursery team, she has excellent attendance, is reliable and conscientious – she is always keen to learn more. Her cheerful nature and openness to feedback means she's always learning and growing as a learner. Jenni is just the kind of driven, engaging and curious student who helps to make the classroom a lively environment and safe place to ask questions and explore different concepts.  

“Jenni goes out of her way to help others to be the best that she can and is a true leading light in her chosen subject of early years.” 

Jenni’s lecturer, who submitted the nomination to the Aspiration Awards, added: 

“It was a privilege to be able to write the nomination of Learner of the Year for Jenni. Without a doubt, Jenni’s value to her studies and to her community is extraordinary.   

“I’ve been teaching the course for a while now and I find that whenever I need to contact NCFE, I use the live chat where I can access all the support I need. The course sees our learners go on to a huge variety of progression pathways from play therapy to primary teaching to Norland Nanny, as Jenni is aspiring to become.   

“I’d absolutely recommend NCFE qualifications to others as they offer such variety and are very accessible. The practical element is excellent as it offers real-life experience and application. As a centre, we are incredibly well supported. NCFE are professional, and forward thinking.” 

To find out more about the wide range of study programmes that we offer learners, visit our study programmes for 16-19 learners page now. 

Learner profile

Name: Jenni Davidson

Qualification: NCFE CACHE Technical Level 3 Certificate in Childcare and Education

Centre: Ullswater Community College

Headshot of Jenni














Pictured: Jenni Davidson

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