Social Services: Children and Young People

March Edition 2024

In this issue:

  • The Story So Far
  • SVQ News
  • FA to MA Pathway
  • Scottish Apprenticeship Awards 2024
  • Coming Up Next Term
  • And Finally
  • Contact Us

This term we have been studying early years childhood development and communication, covering the following topics.

The Story So Far

  • Developmental milestones from pre-birth to childhood.
  • Aspects of development e.g., physical, social, emotional, language, communication and cognitive.
  • Attachment theory.
  • Schematic play.
  • Study of five developmental theorists such as Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, Arnold Gesell, Uri Bronfenbrenner and Albert Bandura.
  • Influences that affect development.
  • Circumstances that affect development.
  • The importance of communication within early years.
  • Understanding and learning to support children with Additional Support Needs (ASN) and English as an Additional Language (EAL).
  • Active listening.
  • The importance of confidentiality.

Throughout this term the students have been producing fantastic work. Here is a sneak preview…

Pupil voice is a vital component of the Foundation Apprenticeship Programme. We hope you enjoy reading some of our student's views.

I have really enjoyed this FA. We have had the best support from teachers and have gained very valued experience.

I am enjoying this course and in particular the opportunity of attending placement each week. I am very grateful for being able to take the course.

I have recommended this course to my friend, and she has chosen it as a subject for next session. I love the work placement and working with children. The theory has made me understand children much better and I am now more confident because I know what I am doing and why I am doing it.

I really enjoy this course. I enjoy the work experience and the theory work. Both parts make the whole experience so interesting.

FA CYP class, Peterhead Academy

FA CYP class, Peterhead Academy

FA CYP class, Turriff Academy

FA CYP class, Turriff Academy

I greatly enjoy working with children and teachers at my placement and I am constantly developing my knowledge, skills and values when I am in the NPA class. I am really enjoying all aspects of this course.

The information we learn I feel is really relevant, making remembering information a lot easier.

I enjoy the course, especially communication which we are learning about now. I like understanding the different methods of communication.

I need to work on my meta-skills of time management and focussing to get the work done but I am really enjoying my time on the course.

SVQ News...

SVQ Assessors have been marvelling at meta-skills being demonstrated and the increasing levels of confidence in our students. Most of the students will be completing their work experience by the Easter holidays and have commented on how much they have enjoyed their placement experience making links between theory taught in class and practice.

We have enjoyed the placement we have at our primary schools/ nurseries. It is by far the best part of the course. It gets us socialising with different age groups of people as well as giving us an insight to our future career pathways.

I really enjoyed my placement and working alongside the children. I also thought the paperwork was good and we had plenty of time to complete work.

I really enjoy my time at placement, and I like how interactive the learning lessons are.

On placement we are always busy with tasks and we are never stuck for anything to do! We are kept very busy with things such as helping them with reading and maths. We also observe and get stuck into play to help the children to be creative and get their imagination running wild . I have learned that play is such an important aspect to a child's development.

I really enjoy attending my weekly placement at the nursery. I enjoy the interactive side of the CYP course which involves active learning in class and expert advice from people who have primary and nursery teaching experience.

I enjoy the placement and the support offered by tutors when struggling or behind with work. I like the teaching style and liked both tutors.

I enjoyed the placement as it gave me more experience of what I would like to do in the future.

Every day is different. Sometimes we are helping teachers set up activities, other days we are sitting down with a group of children helping them boost their confidence with reading and spelling.

The CYP is great fun, and the work placement is good. The NPA and the SVQ work can be challenging but it is worth it. It has made me much more confident and skilled in communicating with younger children. I am applying for and very much hope to get a Modern Apprenticeship in a Childcare placement.

I enjoy the work placement within the course as it is a good experience when thinking about future careers.

I am enjoying placement and learning whilst I am in the environment. I enjoy learning the topics covered in the NPA part of the course and find it interesting.

I have really enjoyed the placement and I have been guided through the assignments and reflective accounts well.

I have really enjoyed this FA. We have had the best support from teachers and have gained very valued experience.

I really enjoy this course, it has helped me to choose a career path for when I leave school.

We are fortunate to have so many supportive workplace mentors across Aberdeenshire and a couple took the time to comment on their experience with the FA students. We are thankful and very appreciative of the time and effort the mentors put in to supporting our students.

The programme is very well thought out and the work placement allows students to become more confident. This is a skill they can continue to improve and will be lifelong. The student can demonstrate what is learnt in class through the placement experience. It has very positive impact on the setting and the students.

We are thoroughly enjoying mentoring the Foundation Apprenticeship students, they are so helpful and they just get stuck into everything. Their knowledge and understanding of the legislation and play pedagogy is evident in their practice. It is an excellent programme for the young people to be part of, really gives them an opportunity to 'try before they buy


This is always an exciting time of year when our students are making choices about which career pathway to follow. It has been wonderful to hear about how they are able to relate their FA experiences to questions they are asked in University, College and job interviews. Meta-skills are vital in any career pathway and the experiences the students have had will set them up for life.

FA CYP Alford Academy students have been reflecting on their meta-skills development.

  • Communication – We must learn to socialise with all age groups while on placement as well as adults and this expands our knowledge on this skill. We have also learned to have a better understanding of the way children communicate.
  • Adapting – We have had to learn to adapt to our new learning environment and the new people surrounding us.
  • Creativity – For two of our assessments we had to choose a game that we felt best suited the age group we were working with at placement. Some examples included, going to the forest and playing indoor games.
  • Leadership– We have shown leadership by protecting children and making risk assessments for our games. Risk Assessments make sure children are not in harms way or exposed to danger. If we are out in the playground or forest, we are always with another member of staff, a Pupil Support Assistant (PSA) to ensure the children are protected from any potential risks and hazards whilst playing.

The picture shows a student from Alford Academy icing gingerbread biscuits and considering the meta-skills and play aspects while doing so.

The picture shows a student from Alford Academy making playdough.

Foundation Apprenticeship (FA) to Modern Apprenticeship (MA) Pathway.

In this edition of the newsletter we hear from a former Aberdeenshire Council Modern Apprentice who shares some of her insights and experiences.

1. Would you recommend studying a Foundation Apprenticeship and if so, why?

2. What did you enjoy the most about the course?

I would highly recommend that students study an FA with Aberdeenshire Council. I did my Modern Apprenticeship in 2018 and learned so much on the job. It made studying easier as I was seeing everything I was reading. I also took time each week to write out things that happened so that I could refer to this when writing my reflective accounts. I developed meta-skill like time-management, adaptability, focussing and patience. These are key when it comes to working with children.

During the course, I enjoyed being able to be creative and have fun with the children. Every day is different which it means it never gets boring and children will always brighten up your day! I also loved working with outside agencies such as Speech and Language Therapists as this helped me with my practice. I still use some of the techniques with children five years later!

3. What advice would you give to new Foundation Apprenticeship students?

4. In what ways has the apprenticeship pathway developed or supported your future career choices?

My advice would be to be as hands-on as you can! It makes the learning so much easier and helps to consolidate everything. Also, do not be afraid to try out ideas, some things will work well with some children but not for others and that is okay! Furthermore, ask questions. The practitioners will be happy to help.

The apprenticeship has supported my future career choices as I plan on staying in childcare. I personally love working with children with Additional Support Needs (ASN) and would love to develop my skills in this area. I would welcome the opportunity to mentor future apprentices as that is how my career began!

Many thanks go to Toni for taking the time to share her thoughts and experiences on her chosen career pathway.
This is the time of year where Modern Apprenticeships become available, and you may be aware that we have been sending out possible MA opportunities. Stay tuned to your glow emails as we will share any future job opportunities within Aberdeenshire Council in the coming months. Click the link below for more information.

Scottish Apprenticeship Awards 2024

The photo shows three students from various schools across Aberdeenshire attending the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards 2024 and using an iPad to ask the delegates questions.

The photo shows Aberdeenshire Council’s FA students and members of the FA team sitting round a table at the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards 2024.

What a way to close #ScottishApprenticeshipweek2024! Nothing beats a Friday afternoon spent at the inspirational Skills Development Scotland Scottish Apprenticeship Awards (SAW) at the P&J Live Conference Arena.

The SAW Event took place on Friday 8th of March 2024 and was attended by some of Aberdeenshire Council’s Foundation Apprenticeship team and FA students from various schools. Everyone had an amazing time, interviewing attendees about their job roles, meta-skills, and career pathways thus far. It was fantastic to participate in the celebration of the young people’s success.

Congratulations to all the worthy winners!

Coming up Next Term...

We have one more week left of the course after the Easter Holidays. It is vital, therefore that students do all they can to ensure they are adhering to deadlines set by their tutors and SVQ Assessors so they don't fall behind at the last hurdle. Students must complete both components of the course, the NPA (National Progression Award) which is taught in class and the SVQ Level 2 ( Scottish Vocational Qualification). Both parts have written assignments and the full Foundation Apprenticeship Qualification which is equivalent to a Higher A or B pass must be completed to gain the full award.

And Finally...

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued support with the Foundation Apprenticeship Programme. We very much value the hard work and effort that goes into supporting our students.

We wish you a very Happy Easter!

Contact Us

If you require further information regarding the Foundation Apprenticeship Children and Young People Course, please do not hesitate to contact

If you or someone you know would like more information about other courses available through Aberdeenshire’s Foundation Apprenticeships, please get in touch with or

Visit us on the web or check out our Foundation Apprenticeship Aberdeenshire Council Facebook page.

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