THE boss of a Dorset childcare business has been chosen to lead a task force advising the government on apprenticeships.

Skills and enterprise minister Matthew Hancock has asked a small group of early years employers to develop new standards for apprenticeships and report to him by the summer.

The early years leadership group will be chaired by Cheryl Hadland, MD of Tops Day Nurseries.

The minister said: “We want to see apprenticeships become the new norm for all ambitious young people, and employers who are dedicated to growing their own talent and increasing the skills base of the nation.”

Early years is one of five sectors in the second round of the government’s Trailblazers initiative, which aims to put employers in the driving seat of apprenticeships, so they deliver the skills that businesses and learners need.

The Trailblazers initiative grew out of a review of apprenticeships by former Dragon’s Den entrepreneur Doug Richard.

Cheryl said: “This is an exciting opportunity to influence the knowledge and competence that we need from those who look after young children in nurseries and pre-schools, at child-minders and in other settings.”

The leadership group consists of childcare and education employers, from single nurseries to major national chains, as well as training providers and national organisations.

Tops Day Nurseries is based in Southbourne and operates at 15 sites, including Bournemouth, Boscombe, Charminster, Corfe Mullen, Parkstone, Poole, Sturminster Newton, Wareham and Wimborne.

The Trailblazers initiative was due to be launched at a reception at 10 Downing Street today.