Thinking about a job in childcare?
Do you love the time you spend with little ones and have thought about working with children, but you don’t know where to start?
Try doing something you love for a living and take your first steps to a job in childcare with a childminder or nursery. Try taster days, work experience, childcare apprenticeships or become a childminding assistant.
Here are some first steps to take to help you decide if a job in childcare is a good fit for you:
Talk to people who already work in childcare
Nurseries, pre-schools and childminders are used to visitors asking questions and when you're looking around childcare settings for your child, you can also ask about how they got started, and whether there is any training they'd recommend. Toddler groups, playgrounds and soft play centres are also great places to meet childminders and nannies.
You might find your local authority or adult education college offers taster days on working with children. They are good places to ask questions too.
'First Steps to Childminding' Facebook page
Join our Facebook group! The aim of this group is to be a supportive space and network for people wishing to become childminders; newly registered childminders; and those undertaking their pre-registration training. More experienced childminders are welcome to share ideas and encouragement, but the main focus group is to support and guide new people to become registered childminders. There are two groups, those living or working in England can join First Steps to Childminding and those living or working in Wales can join Become a Childminder in Wales. Join the community today!
You don't need to be at school to do work experience. Once you’ve found somewhere you’d really like to work, use the time when your 2-year-old is at childcare to offer to do work experience there for a few sessions to see what it’s like. While you’re there, ask about the best way to get started working in childcare. If you enjoy it, keep in touch in case any vacancies come up.
Apprenticeships combine practical training in a job with study. They are not just for teenagers and can be a good way of getting paid while you gain the qualifications you need to work with children. There are lots of childcare apprenticeships advertised. Vacancies in England are available through the Childcare Company. If you live in Wales vacancies are available through Educ8. If you don’t see a vacancy, the employer you want to work with can take you on as an apprentice with support from the local authority. Childminders can take on apprentices too.
Become a childminding assistant
Working with a childminder can be an ideal introduction to working with children as you get their one-to-one support, a comfortable home setting and a small group of children. In England you can even bring your funded 2-year-old to work with you as long as they aren’t also related to the childminder.
Childminders are qualified childcare professionals. In England they work, with the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and will be able to help you take things one step at a time. In Wales they work within the regulatory requirements from CIW. To be a childminding assistant you will need to take first aid training, have a DBS check and learn about child development, safeguarding and other relevant areas of practice. The childminder will be able to point you in the right direction for what you need to do.
Even though there are some things you need to do for a job in childcare to keep the children safe and help them develop well, every day is different, and often fun and rewarding! You could be preparing snacks, playing in a sandpit, cutting and sticking, or joining in with a group singing session. How many jobs can you say that about?
Live in England? Find out more about becoming a childminding assistant.
Line in Wales? Find out more about becoming a childminding assistant
Childcare on Domestic Premises (England only)
If you have decided that you want to grow your business, one option to increase the number of places you can offer to children in England is to covert your childminding registration to childcare on domestic premises (CoDP). You can find more information about Childcare on Domestic Premises here.