Training pathways

The childcare and early years profession offers various training routes for those starting out on their career, as well as plenty of opportunities for career development.

We support our members to develop their practice through ongoing training and professional development.

Once you have started your career in childcare and early years, you will begin to explore and learn about different aspects of the profession and different roles within it.

If you discover something that particularly interests you, there's likely to be a course or qualification you can undertake to learn more about it. You may also decide to develop your knowledge and skills further because you'd like to progress to a particular role, such as being a nursery manager, a childminder, or a special educational needs coordinator (SENCo)/ additional learning needs coordinator (ALNCo).

As a childcare professional, it is important to stay up to date and continue to learn throughout your career journey, so that you can provide the best possible service to the children and families you work with.

At PACEY we support our members' training and learning needs in all areas of practice and at all career stages. So whether you're completing your first childcare qualification at level 2 or 3, or you're studying for a degree in Early Childhood Studies, we can help you to reflect on your practice and consider areas for personal and professional growth and development.

Discover more about training with PACEY and the professional standards that can help you to find your career pathway.

Real life story

We spoke to PACEY Tutor and Associate Charlie Chewter about her experience of training and learning as an adult.

"I started childminding with very little experience in childcare outside of parenting and had no formal training at all. I'd left school with only two GCSEs and dropped out of college, so I was not looking forward to undertaking courses. I started on the PACEY pre-registration course in 2009 - it was a mix of evening sessions with a multiple choice question paper. I also undertook my first aid training. This was followed quickly by my first child protection course.

"I found childminding really hard. I felt lost in the EYFS and really isolated. I was reading to quit very early on. I'd been given a year's membership with PACEY when I registered so I was fortunate enough to have PACEY support. My PACEY coordinator pointed me in the direction of the level 3 diploma for the children and young people's workforce. I attended local sessions and put together a portfolio of practice, and then my assessor came out to observe me work with the children to complete the course. I decided to retake my maths GCSE at this time too.

"I was given the opportunity to undertake a level 3 diploma in playwork. I really enjoyed both diplomas but found learning about play concepts particularly interesting. It's completely changed my perspective on how best to support children's learning in the early years. I moved forward from this to a BA Hons in Early Years (I'm on my third out of six modules). This has been a really good experience for me. I'm taking it slowly – only 60 credits a year – as I want to be fully engaged and get the most from each module."

Sharing good practice

"As I was enjoying seeing the impact of my learning on my childcare setting and the opportunities I was providing to children so much, I wanted to share what I had learned with others. I was able to work with PACEY to provide quality practice sessions to others, providing practice support and ideas. I really enjoyed opening my setting to others and supporting them to establish their own. I wanted to take this further and looked into what I would need to become a trainer and assessor.

"I went on to complete the Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (PTLLS) qualification and earned my Assessors' Award. I continued to have the support of PACEY who gave me the opportunity to deliver and assess for them, and this enabled me to go on to work towards my Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status, undertaking a full teaching qualification.

"I have undertaken short courses too, learning about attachment theory and teenage psychology as well as working on my own continuous personal and professional development by reading different books and journals. The articles in PACEY's The Childcare Professional magazine form part of my informal professional development - they are a good source of practice ideas and professional advice."

Plans for the future

"I'm not done yet though - I’ll be a lifelong learner. Every day I learn something that helps me to improve and to support others too. The more I learn, the more questions I have - there are sparks of curiosity in so many different areas. I'd love to do Internal Quality Assurer (IQA) training as I'd like to understand the quality assessment process for the early years course structures and qualifications. I have also found a deep interest in attachment theory, emotional literacy and play therapy - all areas that complement each other and areas I'd like to explore in future training and development.

"I'm not sure what I'm aiming towards or what my long term goal is – I am just following my interests and developing along the way. My passion is achieving a good quality 'gold seal' standard for children and young people across all areas, with a focus on early intervention through outstanding early years settings. We are a foster family so have seen at first hand how much support vulnerable children need. I want all children to have the best start in life and as many opportunities afforded to them as possible. I think that's what drives me forward and fuels my hunger for knowledge."