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Case Study – HOT Early Years Career Progression

As an employer, HOT supports our own employees through their learning journeys to help them reach their career development goals. Hannah Gaukroger joined the Trust in 2014 and, through the support of teams throughout the organisations, has found a new path that builds on existing Early Years skills and qualifications. 
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Children & Families


  • Service Area: HOT Learning – Apprenticeships & Children’s Centres Early Years
  • Professional Development: working towards Teaching and Assessor qualification
  • Values: We are Committed, We Collaborate

The work Halifax Opportunities Trust (HOT) delivers aims to support local people. Whether through finding work or supporting them to build new skills or developing on existing ones, one of the areas we specialise in is helping people professionally and personally develop.

Through our Learning Service, we are able to deliver nationally recognised qualifications through work-based learning apprenticeships in education and business. And, as an employer, we support our own employees through their learning journeys to help them reach their career development goals. Hannah Gaukroger joined the Trust in 2014 and, through the support of teams throughout the organisations, has found a new path that builds on existing Early Years skills and qualifications. 

Humble beginnings

Hannah first began working at Halifax Opportunities trust in 2014, after working at another Children’s Centre for over 7 years. When Hannah joined the Trust she had a Level 3 Qualification and was working as a temporary assistant Early Years Practitioner.

After a short while working at one of HOT’s Children’s Centres, Hannah received a full-time contract as an Early Years Practitioner and in the following few years she successfully started a new role as a Senior Early Years Practitioner.

Climbing the Ladder

Recognising her love for the Early Years sector and thirst for learning, the team at Halifax Opportunities Trust supported Hannah further with Leadership and Management training. She completed both the Level 4 and Level 5 qualifications, which gave her further skills and confidence to fulfil and exceed the requirements of her role.

Hannah comments: “This is one of the best training courses I have attended and it gave me some great skills and techniques to contribute to the Children’s Centre services.”

Building Professional Skills and Relationships

Working within the Children and Families team at HOT, at one of the Trust’s five Children’s Centres, gave Hannah the opportunity to build professional relationships with industry peers and mentors.  The connections Hannah has built have inspired her, helping her to become motivated and driven towards career progression and further education.  

In 2017 HOT gave Hannah another great opportunity to develop her professional skills further, with the completion of her Early Years degree and BA Honours in Early years. Here she learned new knowledge and skills that supported her in providing quality care for children and families within the Children’s Centre. 

Dedicated to the Early Years

Throughout her career, Hannah has known that Early Years is something she is passionate about and working in HOT’s Children’s Centres has given her the experience and opportunity to progress; something she is extremely grateful for. 

This year, after over 15 years in an Early Years setting, Hannah decided she was ready for a change in career. While still dedicated to Early Years, Hannah was looking for alternative career paths where she could build on her existing skills while progressing even further.

As HOT delivers a wide range of services and programmes, there are many regular opportunities based both in central functions as well as specific areas of delivery. Hannah took her next step, thanks to such opportunities; the HOT Learning & Apprenticeships Team were looking for a Tutor Assessor.

Hannah comments: “I was fortunate to have seen a position within Halifax Opportunities Trust for an Assessor/ Tutor, which I was excited about as I knew I still wanted to be involved in the early years sector.  I was successful in applying for the post and was excited about supporting people through their qualifications to become Early Years Practitioners and Teaching Assistants.”

A New Direction

Hannah is now working towards her professional qualification to become an accredited Assessor, as part of the Trust’s Learning & Apprenticeships Team. HOT Apprenticeships specialise in early years and education sectors, proving learners with the opportunity to gain a qualification while they work and gain recognition as they actively build their profession.

Hannah’s background in this sector and the many years’ experience she has gained, is a great fit to the Apprenticeships Service. Building on her existing skills and qualifications, Hannah has also developed in the past months by taking her organisational skills to an excellent level and delivering great communication skills.

Apprenticeships colleague and mentor, comments: Since Hannah has started, she has fitted into the team perfectly. Alongside her lovely personality, she brings great knowledge and experience in Childcare so she will make an amazing Tutor delivering apprenticeships. She will also create excellent partnerships with all settings and learners which will mean they will have success in their future careers. I look forward to working with Hannah for many years to come.”

Hannah adds: “I was welcomed with open arms into the Apprenticeship Team and felt the transition was smooth as I was already employed with them.  Being in the new team has taught me so much already in such a short space of time, the team have really supported me and helped me settle in.  I am loving the experience of being an assessor/tutor and look forward to starting my assessor training soon.” 

Supporting future Early Years Professionals

Taking her career in a new direction within the Early Years sector is a great example of how flexible and beneficial an apprenticeship can be. While Hannah will now be taking on a less hands on role, supporting future Early Years and Teaching Assistant Professionals through their career journey, she is able to implement al the knowledge she has gained over the years, while applying the new skills she has learned within the Apprenticeships Team.

In her role so far, Hannah has been required to work on the delivery of the apprenticeship standards for learners in Teaching Assistants and Early years, including observations, reviewing and providing feedback to the learners for Level 2, Level 3 and Level 5, in any of the above subjects.

Hannah has learnt how to support and deliver Maths & English Functional Skills to Level 2 and become a motivator and mentor to the learners through their learning journey. There are plenty more skills that Hannah has developed in the past months, however alongside of all of these achievements she is taking her career into the next level and is ready to start her professional development course to become an accredited Assessor.

The Apprenticeship Management team adds: “We are delighted to welcome Hannah into the Apprenticeships Team. Her progression and new opportunity showcase HOT’s strategic aim for Professional Development & Recognition. This is something that we are very enthusiastic about and it defines our social value and purpose as a whole.

“We are really lucky to work with Hannah as she has brought a vast amount of experience and early years expertise into the teaching and quality field, which is the key component of operations within the Apprenticeship standards.

We would like to congratulate Hannah in her professional development and we are looking forward to continue working with her. We also hope that we can support her further in her education and to provide the opportunity for her next career stage and so she feels supported in her individual development and career progression.”

Find out more about the Career Progression and Development Opportunities in Early Years

Career Opportunities

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