Thinking about what you’ll do after you finish school can fill you with dread. There are so many options and you’re bound to feel nervous about leaving the classroom to enter the world of work. However, if you want a career in childcare, there are plenty of things you can do right now to give yourself a head start for when the time comes to make that leap.

1. Volunteer with children in a local pre-school

Find yourself with time to spare over summer holidays or during half-term? Why not contact a local pre-school or nursery and find out whether they could use an extra pair of hands. You’ll get a valuable insight into what it’s like to work with children, as well as learning useful skills which will come in handy for your CV.

2. Offer to babysit children of friends and family

If you can’t find a local nursery to volunteer in, the next best thing would be to offer to babysit children within your circle of family and friends. Hardworking mums and dads will be grateful for a break and you’ll gain hands-on experience of the age groups you could be working with in the future.

3. Read articles to understand what employers look for

Apart from someone who enjoys working with children, there are many other qualities that nursery employers typically look for in a school leaver. Read this article to find exactly what type of person managers are likely to choose when they pick applicants to come in for an interview.

4. Plan your career progression route

Do you know how you’ll get from where you are today to achieve your dream job? No? Carry out some research online about entry routes into childcare. Typically, you’d start as a level 2 childcare apprentice and work your way up from there to do your level 3. After that, there are many options! You could do a degree, start a management qualification or even train to become a childcare assessor.

5. Keep up to date with changes in the sector

Although it sounds like a boring task, when you work in childcare you’ll be expected to keep up to date with all the important issues that affect the sector. If you can start reading up on them now, then you can impress potential employers during your interview with how clued up you are with the challenges faced by the industry. Keep an eye on stories from Nursery World and subscribe to updates from Parenta so you stay in the know.

6. Browse job boards to learn more about childcare roles

Want to work in childcare but not really sure what the job actually involves? Browse online job boards which give you an idea of the role and responsibilities in a job such as nursery assistant. If you do this, when it comes to your first interview, you’ll already have a good idea of what’s expected of you.

7. Talk to someone who works in childcare

If you know somebody who works in a nursery, ask to spend some time with them to chat about what it’s really like. Find out what they like about their job, what they find most challenging and how they got into childcare in the first place. If you don’t know anyone working in childcare, you can read Millie’s tips in her blog here.

Although the thought of leaving school to start work can be a scary one, the more preparation you can do now, the easier it will be for you to make that transition when the time comes. Don’t delay, start planning your next steps right now!

Want to find out more about getting your first job in childcare? Speak to our friendly team!

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