Many people who enjoy spending time with young children would like to pursue a career in childcare. Nowadays, to become a qualified nursery worker and to be counted in the staff-to-children ratios, you need to have a Level 2 qualification or higher. However, if you have been unemployed for a long time or if you have never held a job at all, this can be difficult.
People of all ages and walks of life decide to pursue a career in childcare and their reasons for doing so will vary. Which category do you fall into?
The Moving On Mum
These women take a long career break to start a family and find that when they return back to work that their job no longer exists, or things have changed so drastically that they feel that they have no option but to resign and move on.
The Career Changer
This is someone who has worked in several different jobs unrelated to childcare and has decided to have a change of career, pursuing childcare as something new and exciting.
The Inspired Mum
Some new mums may decide to take a couple of years out of work to see their children grow up. They soon decide they really enjoy taking care of children and actively decide to get a job in childcare.
The Young School Leaver
A young person who has just finished Year 11 at school. They may have some experience of babysitting, or looking after younger siblings but will never have held a full-time job before.
The First Time Job-er
This is normally someone of graduate calibre, who has finished university and is looking for their very first job. Related degrees such as Health and Social Care would be relevant for working with children.
Here are your options for getting your foot on the childcare employment ladder:
Find volunteer work
Following the successful completion of a DBS (formerly CRB) check into your background, you can be cleared to work with children. Many nurseries and pre-schools are short on resources and would welcome the opportunity to have an extra pair of hands helping them out. The advantage of this, is that if a paid position opens up you could apply immediately for it or the vacancy may be offered to you before it is opened up to anyone else.
Become a childminder
If you are serious about starting up your own childminding business, there are certain training and qualifications that you will need to take beforehand. You will also need to be willing to adapt your house to make it a safe environment to care for a group of children and allow Ofsted to make regular inspections to make sure you are providing a high quality of care.
You can read our guide on the steps you need to take to become a childminder.
Take on work-based training
Work-based training programs, also known as apprenticeships, allow people to gain valuable industry qualifications whilst working in a childcare environment. You need to secure yourself a job in childcare first, and agree with your employer that they will support you to take your childcare qualifications.
The good news is, if you are aged 16-18 when you start an apprenticeship, the government will subsidise 100% of your training costs.
Looking for a job in childcare?
Browse our latest list of childcare jobs and apprenticeships for free on our job board!