Clare Burgess talks to Laura Wood, owner and manager of Humpty Dumpty’s Kindergarden in Taverham, about what it is like to work in the childcare industry.

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Factfile: nursery manager

Training

Before you start work as a nursery manager you will ideally need a level 3 qualification in nursery nursing and/ or Early Years Professional Status (EYPS). EYPS is a professional graduate accreditation for the early years workforce.

You will also need experience as a qualified nursery nurse and to complete a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check.

Timescale

A full time college based course will take 2 years. An NVQ will take 12-18 months to complete. EYPS takes one year to achieve.

Local training

• City College Norwich 01603 773773/ www.ccn.ac.uk

Offering a variety of full time nursery nurse qualifications ,work based NVQs and degrees.

• College of West Anglia 01553 761144/ www.cwa.ac.uk

Offering a variety of full time nursery nurse qualifications, work based NVQs and degrees.

• Great Yarmouth College 01493 655261/ www.gyc.ac.uk

Offering a variety of full time nursery nurse qualifications and work based NVQs.

• UEA 01603 591911/ http://www.uea.ac.uk/edu/eyps/

Offers training to achieve EYPS as well as their new Early Years Volunteers Programme, providing a chance to experience an early years nursery or day care centre.

• Apprenticeships www.apprenticeships.org.uk

For further information check:

• Children’s Workforce Development Council http://www.cwdcouncil.org.uk/

• Norfolk County Council Work force Development team 01603 222900

For training and careers advice in early years and childcare

Salary range

Salaries will range from £14,500 for nursery room leaders to £30,000 for qualified, experienced managers.

Why is it a good profession to get into?

Working in the childcare industry is very rewarding as you can see changes in the children every day, whether it is something they have learnt or something they say to you; it is really great!

When I first started out in the childcare profession I was in a position where I couldn’t make any changes and as I became more aware of different things and learnt more about the industry while I was doing my degree at City College Norwich, I really wanted to make a difference.

After graduating, I decided to open up my own nursery which has given me the opportunity to do things how I want to do them and it is nice to know that I can really make a difference to these children.

What does the work involve?

My day normally starts by setting up the nursery before we open at 7.30am. I then meet and greet the parents and offer breakfast to the children. We do a variety of activities with the children during the day, ranging from painting and gardening to water and sand play. I then spend some time in the office, catching up on some administrative work such as invoicing, food ordering and registering new children. I may also have a visit scheduled, where I show prospective parents and their children around my nursery in the hope that they register with us.

At midday, we all sit with the children whilst they have a healthy cooked lunch prepared within the nursery. Here, we encourage table manners, socialisation and we talk about healthy eating. After lunch, some children like to nap so we help them to settle down for the afternoon. We then engage in some fun activities with the children before it is time for tea and then home. Although we adopt a routine for the children, each day is very different and encompasses a whole variety of different tasks to ensure that the children are safe and that their needs are met.

What are the positives/negatives of the job?

The positive aspect of the job is the working with the children. Knowing you are helping to prepare them for school and their future it is very rewarding. From my point of view, there are not really any negative aspects of the job. At times it can be physically and mentally tiring, however we try to maintain a positive attitude within the nursery at all times.

Is there much local demand for people trained in this area?

The childcare industry can offer a lot of things and I think there is a demand for people but you have to have the relevant qualifications.

What would employers look for in someone applying for a vacancy?

You have to be enthusiastic, have a good sense of humour, have the relevant qualifications and preferably have experience of working in a nursery. I look for someone who has a thirst for learning and growing with the children, willingness to accept other people and work as a team and someone who can take on board what they are told, whether it is having to do something in a different way or willingness to accept change. But, mainly, it is enthusiasm because if you haven’t got any enthusiasm you won’t get very far.

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