Childcare will involve you caring for or supervising a child or multiple children between the ages of six weeks to thirteen years. The childcare industry can be broken into a number of different areas based on the age of the children because they have such different needs; early years (pre-school), children (school age), young people (teenagers) or families.
From teaching or management to nursery nursing or nannying there are a lot of opportunities for you. Don't think small when you consider the childcare industry! It's not just about working in a nursery; you could be in a school or even in somebodies house caring for their family.
The industry is very rewarding, and you will be able to see the difference that you're making every day. You're going to play a massive role in the development of the children that you work with and you'll be watching them grow up! You could make an impact on thousands of peoples lives.
What qualifications should I look out for?
The most common qualification in childcare to look out for are CACHE (Council for Awards in Care, Health and Education) qualifications, which range from entry level to level 5 opportunities (for experienced professionals). CACHE qualifications are well known and widely respected throughout the childcare industry.
What options can I take for a career in childcare?
Work experience in a career like childcare will give you the opportunity to find out about what the job is all about, and more importantly whether you could work with children every day! A large number of childcare centres, nurseries and schools will give most people work experience opportunities however some organisations will need you to have certain qualifications or checks before you work with them.
The great thing is any kind of work experience with children will put you in a good position to start applying for roles. From babysitting for a friend or family to volunteering with children.
Childcare is an industry where qualifications are required to get you on the ladder, but hands-on experience is incredibly important. That's why an apprenticeship in childcare could be the best option for you. You'll be working from the day you start with experienced colleagues while spending 20% of your time working towards a qualification, all while earning a salary! Here are some of the apprenticeship options that are available.
- Level 2 - Children & Young People's Workforce
- Level 3 – Teaching Assistant
- Level 4 – Children, Young People & Families Practitioner
- Level 5 – Children, Young People & Families Manager
- Level 6 – Social worker (Degree)
There are opportunities for you to do a degree apprenticeship in childcare, at the moment you can opt to do a Social Work degree apprenticeship. As a degree apprentice, you'll be gaining valuable experience from your first day as you'll work full time in social work.
You'll be gaining more responsibility every day through your job while you study towards a degree – completely debt free. As the degree is part of an apprenticeship, you'll be applying the theoretical knowledge into your job every day, taking on special projects and all sorts!
You could opt to start your childcare career by studying at university. This is a great opportunity if you'd like to learn all of the theoretical knowledge behind the industry which you can apply to your job when you graduate. You'll be able to choose what degree to study for and different units each term so you can specialise in whatever interests you the most. Here are some examples of degrees:
- Early Childhood and Primary Education Studies BA (Hons)
- Primary Teaching with Early Years BA (Hons)
- Families and Childhood Studies BA (Hons)
- Early Years Education BA (Hons)
- Childhood Studies BSc (Hons)
- Childhood & Youth and Early Childhood BA (Hons)
Although you will need qualifications as your childcare career progresses, you may be able to go straight into a job. You'll be learning straight away, and it is an industry which rewards its employees, so progression is certainly an option for you.