A NURSERY in Tilehurst received a visit from an MP to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week.

MP for Reading West, Alok Sharma, visited Fledglings Day Nursery to celebrate the 13th annual National Apprenticeship Week.

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Mr Sharma spoke to apprentices at the nursery to help raise awareness of apprenticeships in the Reading area, organised by local training provider Chiltern Training.

He was welcomed to the nursery by Louise Otty, owner of Fledglings Day Nursery. Louise has recently opened a new nursery, Fledglings Lodge, and there are currently five apprentices across the two nurseries based in Tilehurst.

Mr Sharma spoke with apprentices Chloe, Lauren and Amelia during his visit.

He said: “It was wonderful to meet the hugely committed team at Fledglings Day Nursery, including brilliant apprentices like Chloe.

"I was delighted to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week with them and I welcome the fact that since May 2010, there have been 8,370 apprenticeship starts in my Reading West constituency.”

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The number of apprenticeship starts in the area per annum has risen from 720 in 2017/18 to 820 in 2018/19.

Apprentice Chloe said: “I have really enjoyed completing my level 2 apprenticeship, I love the hands-on learning that I get at the nursery.

"My assessor gives me guidance and support as well as the college tutors.

"I am now looking forward to moving onto my Level 3 apprenticeship.”

Chiltern Training is a work-based learning training provider that offers training programmes, including Level 2 Apprenticeships and management courses in a range of sectors.

Louise Otty explained: “We have been working with Chiltern Training for over 15 years and the apprenticeship scheme works well in encouraging practitioners into the early years profession.

"The students get a combination of 'on the job training' from experienced staff/mentors as well as classroom-based support when attending college - of course also being paid to gain their qualifications is also beneficial.

"We have been fortunate to have been able to offer many apprenticeships over the years and in fact many of our staff have also gained their qualifications through Chiltern Training.”