What to do after GCSE – how about working with children?


Getting your results today but not sure what to do now? Melissa Sutton, a 16 year old childcare apprentice, wanted to share her advice on what she did after GCSE and how she’s kickstarted  a great career working with children.

“As I started my career in childcare (as an apprentice) at 16 straight from school, I required basic qualifications such as Maths and English. I needed a pass in both. However, for some people, such as me, it is not always that easy. My weakness in school was Maths. I knew from day one that I was not going to get a pass without several attempts. That is when functional skills step in (which you take when you start a childcare apprenticeship) – they allow you to begin work but still continue to study.

“I believe it is important to have some experience before entering a childcare career. Why? It can be challenging at times and you need to know you will be able to maintain a professional attitude throughout.

“I had some experience before entering my career. I started volunteering at a facility run by Mencap. This includes looking after children aged 8-18 who have special educational needs. I volunteered on a Saturday for the children. I also volunteered at a Wednesday club. The Wednesday club had adults with similar disabilities but was for people aged 19 and older.

“I have been on my childcare apprenticeship for a year now, working in a nursery. I can honestly say I would recommend it.  I have nearly completed my NVQ Level 2 and I am moving on to starting my NVQ Level 3. I have had to fit my level 2 training in around my working hours, which has been challenging, but manageable. NVQ Level 2 provides significant training to enable you to be part of a professional team and gives you the knowledge you need when working with children.

“I would recommend a book called  ‘CACHE Level 2 Certificate for the Children and Young People’s Workforce (QCF) England’. This book has helped me through my long assignments and has given me information that I would not of known beforehand.

NVQ Level 3 will provide me with a more in-depth training. The course lasts for two years and if completed successfully, it could lead to entry into university and a degree in Early Years Learning.”

Are you interested in starting your childcare career like Melissa has? 

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