The Inspire Programme

 Apprenticeships with a Difference

Have you always dreamed of getting a childcare qualification, but you weren’t sure where to start? If you have a passion for childcare, a positive attitude, and the commitment to achieve your goals - the Red Bus Inspire Programme is for you! 

We’re offering a limited number of trainees the opportunity to gain a free Level 2 or Level 3 Early Years qualification, through on-the-job learning alongside a recognised training provider.

During your time on the programme you’ll work in one of our settings as an Assistant Practitioner - a vital role in the Red Bus team - and receive a generous salary on top.

You won’t be thrown in at the deep end! We offer a staggered start to working at Red Bus, with shorter shifts at first that gradually increase as you settle in. Once you’re ready for more responsibility, we’ll give it to you – alongside a higher pay rate!

Throughout the programme you will have regular check-ins with our Trainee Co-Ordinator – your dedicated mentor, there to keep you on track with deadlines, support you through any tough spots, and ensure you’re on your way to achieving your goals. 

You’ll be working in a company with a proven track record of developing staff to meet their goals, and at the end of your training there’s a guaranteed job waiting for you.

The Red Bus Inspire Programme – the safe way to start in Early Years and achieve your dreams.

What We’re Looking For
Applicant Criteria

  • Are you dedicated to achieving your dreams, committed to learning, and willing to take the initiative?
  • Do you have an affinity with young children, and a passion for childcare and children’s learning?
  • Are you able to work and study up to 40 hours a week in a full-time position?
  • Can you show us experience of putting in hard work to achieve your goals? We don’t necessarily mean academic achievements here – think big!
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How to apply…

 Head to our vacancies page to apply for our Apprentice Assistant Practitioner roles! All you'll need to provide is...

  • Your basic contact info
  • Your CV
  • A brief cover letter explaining why you're a good fit for the programme

We're always available for an informal chat or to answer any questions - email us via [email protected] or by filling out our Contact form.


Are there any upfront costs?
There is nothing to pay upfront taking on this qualification! We even cover the first payment of your DBS check.

What is the pay?
You’ll start with an hourly rate of £7.00. This will increase to £8.00 per hour when you complete the Red Bus ‘competency checklist’ – a set of skills and qualities needed to be a capable, responsible member of the team. You, your room manager, and the trainee coordinator will manage your progress through the checklist to make sure you're ready. 

Do I have to complete the checklist before I begin my training?
Your training will start as soon as you join Red Bus! You’ll sign a separate apprenticeship agreement alongside your contract of employment.

What sort of hours will I be expected to work?
To begin with you will work a short shift, 8am to 1pm. The week after you’ll work 1pm-6pm, observing the later part of the day in your room. By week three your hours will increase slightly, working 8am-3pm - with a lunch break of course!

After that you’ll join the rest of our full time team, working 40 hours a week. This means working four full days, and one a day week will be a ‘half day’ – normally 8am-12pm, or 2pm-6pm.

What sort of training does the Programme entail?
Your course will be a real mix of on-the-job learning and academic work. Through our learning partner you’ll complete workbooks and fill out detailed question and answer sessions relating to different topics related to Early Years childcare.

Lots of your training will be completed whilst working in the rooms as an Assistant Practitioner. In this role, you’ll be observed by your room manager and trainee coordinator to make sure you're progressing and covering all the skills needed to be a great practitioner.

You’ll also take part in the same essential training courses as the rest of the Red Bus team, as well as additional specific training through the Noodle Now software.

How long is the programme expected to take?
The training can take between 18 months to 2 years, from start to end. The timeline can vary, depending on how quickly the individual moves through the coursework! Don’t forget, once the programme has finished and you receive your qualification, you are guaranteed a job at Red Bus.

What is the recruitment process like?
If your application is selected to progress, we will be in touch for a quick chat over the phone. The next step is to come in for a visit to the nursery - you can take a look around the setting, answer some questions, and even stay and play with the children for a while. Soon after that, we'll let you know if you have been offered a place!

Where will I be working?
We have three rooms and age ranges which you could potentially work with.

  • Nursery – for babies aged 3 months to 2.5 years
  • Kindergarten – our toddler room, for children between the ages of 2 and 3.5 years
  • Pre-School – for children 3 years old until they leave for big school!