Guide to working in childcare

Why work with children?

Quality education, care and play for children from birth to age 14 makes a real difference to their lives, laying the foundation for all-round development in their crucial formative years and preparing them for adulthood.

Thousands of children are already benefiting from the input of people like you:

  • people who care about children and their future
  • people who have the commitment, energy and enthusiasm to be positive role models
  • people who value the opportunity for a worthwhile career
  • You'd be playing a key role in the lives of children you care for.

Your involvement could help children develop social and learning skills that would stand them in good stead throughout their lives.

So why work with children?

Because children deserve a good start. After all, they are our future.


Could it be me?

Thousands of people are still needed nationwide to give children the best start.

If children are to continue getting the very best quality early education, care and play, we need to draw on a wider pool of talent for these crucial jobs. If you have the right blend of personal skills and qualities, you could be one of them.

All kinds of people work in early years, childcare and playwork. Children need a variety of positive role models and good influences. School leavers and students, adults of all ages, disabled people, people from ethnic minorities, men and women – with or without previous experience – all play an important part.

What they have in common is:

  • patience
  • enthusiasm
  • empathy
  • a sense of responsibility
  • a sense of fun!

These dedicated people also understand that theirs is a job to be taken seriously.

If you care about children, you like being with them, encouraging them and learning with them, listening to them, stimulating their imagination and watching them grow, this could be your future. You will also be required to complete a relevant childcare qualification.

There is never been a better time to work in early years, childcare and playwork.


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What is in it for me?

You will have a respected and demanding career, an interesting and challenging role with the potential to change lives – for the better. And that is some responsibility.

In return, the rewards are great.

You will watch children grow and gain in confidence as they learn and play. You will share their achievements and be there for them when they need you. You will give them security and feel in return the trust they invest in you.

Working with children often involves working with parents too, helping them with their child's development and enabling them to find a better balance in their lives. It often involves working as part of a team, training and learning day by day. You will not only feel the difference in terms of confidence and job satisfaction – you will also have the support and camaraderie that teamwork can bring.

And you will have the opportunity to work towards the qualifications that have real currency in the jobs market, recognising your role in a child's development and enabling you to develop your own personal career – right up to manager level, if that is what you would like.


What are the options?

There is variety as well as job satisfaction.

For example, you could work in a nursery, pre-school or playgroup. You could use your skills alongside a teacher in a nursery school or in a nursery class, enjoying involvement with children up to the age of five.

You could set up as a childminder, based in your own home, out of school clubs and holiday playschemes that exist around the country, working with children up to the age of 14 years.

You could also choose to specialise in working with children with special educational needs.

What is more, there are opportunities for you to move from one childcare setting to another – and to gain promotion and greater responsibility with experience.

Entering the childcare sector will require you to undertake specific qualifications relevant to your job role and responsibilities, as well as having the opportunity to be part of a workforce who is committed to providing good quality services.

One thing is certain – you will never be bored.

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