'I overcame addiction and anxiety to be a male role model for the children who don't have one'

Thomas Shaw has one an award for his apprenticeship course
Thomas Shaw, Nursery Apprentice at Ryan House Day Nursery & Preschool, winning Apprentice of the Year Award with Leah Morley, Early Years Lead Trainer Assessor, at Realise. Thomas Shaw, Nursery Apprentice at Ryan House Day Nursery & Preschool, winning Apprentice of the Year Award with Leah Morley, Early Years Lead Trainer Assessor, at Realise.
Thomas Shaw, Nursery Apprentice at Ryan House Day Nursery & Preschool, winning Apprentice of the Year Award with Leah Morley, Early Years Lead Trainer Assessor, at Realise.

A nursery worker from Nottingham has said 'it means a lot to be a male role for children who might not have one' following an impressive award win.

Thomas Shaw from Ryan House Day Nursery & Preschool in Nottingham has won the ‘Apprentice of the Year’ award from the training provider Realise. 

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Thomas previously battled with anxiety, addiction and self-doubt but says the apprenticeship has helped to turn his life around.

Read more: Your Nottingham

Thomas Shaw has spoken out about his battleThomas Shaw has spoken out about his battle
Thomas Shaw has spoken out about his battle

The nursery apprentice from Clifton overcame his mental health struggles to start a fresh new, successful career in Early Years education which he enjoys.

He said: “When I started out in my Level 2 apprenticeship, it was tough going and I fell behind in my work due to addiction issues I had at the time.

“I was also struggling with anxieties and self-doubt about whether I actually belonged in the early years sector as a male.

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“But, with the help of my managers at the nursery and tutors at Realise, I got right back on track and the apprenticeships have really helped turn my life around.

“Completing Level 2 was a fantastic achievement for me and I’m due to finish my Level 3 apprenticeship next month and about eight weeks earlier than anticipated.”

Men currently make up only 2% of the workforce in the Early Years sector and Thomas is incredibly proud to be flying the flag for all males working in nurseries across the UK. 

Thomas Shaw, winner of Apprentice of the Year with Realise, comments “I love my job and couldn’t be happier forging a career in Early Years. Being a man working in a nursery is a fantastic experience and the children love having that balance of genders. 

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“Some of them won’t have a male role model in their life so they look up to you and it means a lot that I can potentially make a huge difference to their lives at such a young age. I’d encourage any man thinking of moving into the sector to go for it.”

Grandir UK acquired the Ryan House, Radcliffe-On-Trent and Ruddington day nurseries and preschools back in June 2022; all of which are now rated Outstanding by Ofsted.