Inverurie nursery team celebrates early years qualifications

Graduates in Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms.

EIGHT early years practitioners from Busy Bees Inverurie swapped their nursery uniforms for graduation gowns this weekend in celebration of achieving their Social Services (Children and Young People) SVQ 3 (SCQF Level 7) and SVQ 4 (SCQF Level 9) qualifications.

On Saturday 23 March, the nation’s leading nursery group, Busy Bees and its qualification provider, Busy Bees Education and Training, held its annual graduation ceremony at Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms.

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The ceremony comprised presentations of the graduates* in front of their families and loved ones, as well as addresses from Yvonne Smillie, Busy Bees Scotland Managing Director and Marg Randles, Busy Bees Co-Founder.

Natalie Don MSP, Minister for Children, Young People and Keeping the Promise, sent her well wishes to the graduates. She said: “On behalf of the Scottish Government, congratulations to all of the graduates on their achievements. We know that skilled and knowledgeable professionals are the most important factors in high-quality childcare so thank you to every one of you for your dedication to developing the skills, knowledge and experience that allow you to give our children the best start in life.”

Among those celebrating was Carolann Brothers from Inverurie who started her qualification when she was 58 years old. In her early career, Carolann worked in childcare as a play bus leader before moving onto a career in the oil business. After being made redundant, she returned to her true passion of childcare. Alina Cazacincu, who is originally from Romania, received her SQV 3 and also won a Learner of the Year award. Despite facing challenges including English not being her first language, Alina persevered with diligence.  

Elaine McAuley, Childcare Assessor and Trainer at Busy Bees Education and Training Academy, said: “This year was our biggest graduation ceremony to date, and we are so proud of our graduates who have overcome huge obstacles to be where they are today. They have shown hard work, dedication and passion over the last year and we are delighted to be able to celebrate their successes with their fellow nursery teams and families.”

Many graduates also conquered personal battles while studying for their qualification, with others continuing to provide the highest early years education and care for the children whilst balancing a full-time job and a family.

Speaking at the event, Marg Randles, who co-founded Busy Bees nurseries 40 years ago, said: “It is wonderful to celebrate the fantastic achievements of all our graduates, especially at Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms, which was founded by pioneering women with an ambition to bring people together to contribute positively to society. What better place to celebrate changing the lives of young children than this venue?

“There are so many opportunities for people to progress in the early years sector with the right education, training and support, and many of us within the Busy Bees leadership team have followed this journey.

“We are hugely committed to investing in the future talent pipeline. I’d urge anyone interested in making a difference in children’s lives through high-quality education to consider it as a profession.”

The graduation event celebrated 80 learners from Busy Bees’ 22 nurseries across Scotland, including 38 colleagues who achieved SVQ3 qualifications in Social Services (Children and Young People) SCQF Level 7. A further 42 completed a Leadership qualification at SVQ4 (SCQF Level 9*), many of whom have progressed through various roles within the nurseries to take on leadership positions, including becoming Centre Directors.

Busy Bees is currently recruiting across Scotland for qualified educators and has openings for school and college leavers through its apprenticeship scheme who want to join and learn on the job. To find out more about opportunities at Busy Bees in Scotland, please visit

*The graduates have gained their qualifications whilst working at Busy Bees Inverurie.

**The qualifications are funded by Skills Development Scotland, the funding body for all Modern Apprenticeships in Scotland. 

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