How To Get a Career In Childcare

If you are thinking about a career in early education, childcare or playwork, then this helpful guide is for you.



There are numerous ways to become qualified to work with children in a variety of settings, from college courses to online childminding courses. Ensuring you enrol on the right one is important so that you secure your dream childcare role.

A rewarding career.
Children are important. Their early years are some of the most formative years of a child’s life thus the provision of high quality early years’ education, childcare and playwork is essential.

Quality care, education and play make a difference. They help all-­round development including social and learning skills.

Quality childcare is essential and helpful for parents too, especially with more families needing both parents in full time employment. There is no doubt that working with children is a fun and rewarding career.

What makes childcare exceptional?
The quality of early education and child care depends on the skills and training of child care workers. Investing in training is essential for both the child minder and nursery establishments too, not only to gain basic qualification but to also build on these basic, relevant skills and qualifications.

Looking after child is a demanding role, the right combination of skills and personal qualities are needed. And yet, it is possibly one of the most rewarding careers that anyone can choose.

The demand for child care staff has increased in recent years. And this upward trend looks like it will keep growing in the next few years. With parents and carers benefitting from free childcare places, the need for qualified child minders and nursery staff will also increase.

In effect, there has never been a better time to enter a career in childcare, play work or early years education.

Can you be a childcare worker?
Anyone with the right mix of skills and personal qualities can work in childcare and play settings. Traditionally, many of these workers have been women but there are opportunities for everyone:
  • Men and women are being encouraged to work within the child care setting
  • Adults looking to re­enter the employment market are also encouraged to look at what a career in childcare can offer them
  • Adults from any age can be a childcare worker
  • People from every ethnic and cultural background too
  • Employers prefer child care workers to be over the age of 17 but many nurseries and play centres allow 16 year olds with a real interest in child care to shadow senior staff
Understanding the roles within childcare.
Many people will train to be a child care worker with the intention of seeking employment within the sector. Many people go on to successfully secure work with privately run nurseries, as well as local authority run child care and play centres.

There are some specific child care schemes in some areas of the UK too, such as the SureStart and Flying Start family centres that work with families for a variety of reasons. Other people also go on to seek employment in local schools, becoming teaching assistants within reception years.

Other people who complete child care training will offer their services as self employed childminders. This entails offering care in their own home for two of three children, from babies to pre­school aged children. Some childminders also offer services such as dropping off or picking up older children from school.

High expectations
Parents and carers have high expectations from child care provision, whether this is from a nursery or from a childminder.

Essentially, they are looking for a safe environment, in which their child or children will be nurtured and cared for whilst learning too. As such, they expect a childminder or nursery worker to be qualified, skilled and experienced.

It is important at this point to note that the relevancy of qualifications between England, Wales and Scotland differ so always check when enrolling on a course that it is accredited by a reputable awarding body, as well as being recognised by relevant authorities.

Self Employed childminders, for example, will need to be registered with their local authority and a reputable qualification will be a contributory factor in you understanding the processes of registration, as well as why some aspects are needed.

In summary...
  • Check with your local authority if you plan on being a childminder what qualifications are relevant as well as how to start the registration process.
  • Approach local nurseries including local authority and charity run family centres of volunteering opportunities. Apply for a Disclosure and barring Service (DBS) check too as this will be integral to the registration or employment process.
  • Take a look at the benefits of studying for childcare qualification online too.

Until next time,
Jada x

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