5 Great Ways To Prepare For Nursery Work

If you’re interested in a career in childcare then it’s important to make sure you’re prepared and know what you can do to help improve your chances of getting a job before you start. We’ve put together a few things you can do to get off to a great start in your new career!

1. Get some volunteer experience

When you’re thinking about getting into any career it’s important to have some experience that you can show your employers as an example of your skills. Early years work is a great area for getting some volunteer experience in, as you’ll be able to work directly with children in a wide range of roles.

You could look at volunteering for youth groups or with local nurseries to get some experience with children, but any relevant early years experience helps.

When you’re looking to volunteer with children you’re going to have to go through various checks before you start (such as a DBS check) to ensure you meet all the legal requirements of working with children.

2. Get a better understanding of the job

You should make sure you know what kind of work you’ll be performing when you get into a career in childcare, as well as the challenges you could be facing alongside the best parts about early years work!

It’s easy to find testimonials online from current or former childcare workers where you can find out a little more about what it entails. Having other people’s experience as a reference point is going to help you figure out if the job is for you and what you’re most excited about for when you start.

Try searching for articles talking about first hand experiences, or joining Facebook groups where you can ask questions to current nursery workers. If you know anyone who works in childcare it’s a good idea to get their thoughts too!

3. Get some relevant qualifications

If you don’t have much experience then it’s a good idea to get some supporting qualifications. They can help to show potential employers that you have the commitment to learn, as well as have the necessary knowledge for the job, even if you don’t have the practical experience. If you already have the experience then qualifications are a great way to help you stand out from the crowd.

Going into early years work, it’s a good idea to have a qualification in childcare since you’ll be working with young children, especially if you don’t have any practical experience.

You might also be interested in a safeguarding qualification, which will be useful even if you’re already experienced or have qualifications in childcare. 

Safeguarding is an important part of the job and having your qualification will not only give you the knowledge you need to fulfil your safeguarding responsibilities, but also give you an advantage over other candidates that don’t have a safeguarding qualification.

4. Research local employers

Since you’re looking to get into early years work it’s important to consider where exactly you’ll be working. If you have somewhere in mind already, or are in the process of finding a position, it’s still a good idea to keep your options open. You might find something that suits you and your experience level better!

If you’re not quite sure where you’d be applying for, then it’s a good idea to find out about local nurseries and childcare facilities you might be able to work with, even if you’re just looking for volunteer experience.

It’s important to find somewhere that suits you, from the location to the guiding ethos of the organisation. Knowing your options should help to inform how you go about getting into early years work and how you can improve your chances of working with local employers, as well as what positions are available to you locally.

5. Think about how you want to progress

It’s important to have a plan for how you’re going to progress in your career and there are a wide range of opportunities for progression in early years work for you to explore. 

Are you hoping to become a fully qualified nursery nurse? You could progress into teaching and working with older children through a Level 2 Award teaching assistant course, or take on a specialisation. 

Ask about the kind of opportunities for progression you might have with prospective employers and research courses you might want to take in the future to progress.

It’s a good idea to look at higher level job postings you’re interested in so you can find out what you’ll need to get there one day! Having a clear idea of where you want your career to go can help your professional development as you move forward, since you’ll know exactly what you should be focusing on.

It can be frightening heading into a new career, but with some preparation and a plan it’s going to be an extremely rewarding experience. If you’re looking for some help on how you can get into childcare, check out our early years career advice!

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