Childcare: a rewarding career with excellent prospects

There are many different roles associated with the childcare profession.

There are many different roles associated with the childcare profession. - Credit: Archant

The childcare sector is growing fast – and there's never been a better time to enter the profession. Get on course with Norfolk Adult Education

High quality care and education are crucial for all children and your involvement could help children develop into confident, well-rounded individuals. The demand for, and variety of job opportunities available is remarkably high.

There are many different roles associated with the childcare profession, ranging from managerial roles to hands-on assistant jobs.

Some of the most common positions found in childcare include working within nurseries and schools, within pre-schools and playgroups, private childminding and playwork.

Norfolk Adult Education currently runs a number of nationally recognised childcare qualifications from introductory courses that help commence a career within a childcare establishment to advanced levels for management and leadership:

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?Level 1 Childcare

?Level 2 Certificate Children and Young People (distance learning option also available)

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?Level 3 Diploma Early Years Educator (distance learning option also available)

?Level 3 Diploma for Early Years Practitioners

?Level 3 Diploma Playwork

?Level 3 Diploma Children and Young People

?Level 5 Diploma Children and Young People (Management)

Alternatively, you may prefer to work with school-aged children, as a teaching assistant.

Teaching assistants support teachers and help children with their educational and social development, both in and out of the classroom. A teaching assistant might also be called a classroom assistant or learning support assistant (LSA).

Duties vary depending on the school and the age of the children:

?Apprenticeships in Level 2 and Level 3 Supporting Teaching and Learning

?Level 2 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning

?Level 3 Diploma in Supporting Teaching and Learning (distance learning option also available)

?Level 3 Specialist Unit Cover Supervision

?Level 3 Supporting Disabled Learners

Case study: Helena laws

Helena Laws, 44, from Winterton, is just finishing the final assignment of the Level 3 Supporting Teaching and

Learning qualification. She had been helping out at

Winterton Primary and Nursery School and a teacher suggested she study towards getting qualified.

'I started at Level 2 and then went on to Level 3,' she says.

'I've really enjoyed the courses. I hadn't studied in a long time, but I found could still absorb information.'

Helena was assessed through a combination of classroom observation and written assignments, and she received lots of support from her tutor.

Her advice to anyone considering the same course is simple.

'Go for it,' she says

Case study: Owen Spooner

Owen Spooner, 23, was volunteering at Dereham Neatherd High School before he decided to do the Level 2 Supporting

Teaching and Learning course through

Adult Education.

'I was mainly working with autistic children and I wanted to get a bit more understanding,' says Owen.

'I looked for courses online and found the one at Wensum Lodge and thought it would be brilliant.'

Owen qualified in July 2015 after completing the six-month course, run by

Norfolk County Council.

'The course was really interesting and helped me a lot,' he says.

'We looked at behaviours in depth which has made me a lot more confident in dealing with different situations.'

As part of the course, students are observed in the classroom by their mentors

and are then given feedback.

'My mentor was an expert in autism, so getting her feedback was really helpful,' says Owen.

'She'd tell me what I was doing well and what I needed to work on.'

He adds: 'She also made the course really fun too.'

As soon as Owen qualified, the Dereham Neatherd offered him a contract which he starts in


'I'd definitely recommend the course – 100 per cent. I keep telling people about it and how much it helps,' says Owen.

Case study: Sophie Cockburn

Mum of two Sophie Cockburn, 39, was volunteering as a parent helper at Nightingale

First School in

Taverham before she qualified as a teaching assistant through Adult Education.

'I really enjoyed helping out as

a mum and thought this would be ideal as a job,' says Sophie.

She enrolled on the Level 2

Supporting Teaching and Learning course last year at Wensum Lodge and attended weekly classes from

September through to March 2015.

'There was a lot more to it than I realised,' she says.

'We talked about things like policies and how schools are run.'

Sophie explains how she benefited from learning in a group.

'Being able to talk to everyone really helped – we were all new so it was great to have feedback and be able to bounce ideas off each other.

If something's difficult, it's nice when you realise it's not just you who finds it hard,' she says.

'It also really helped talking about children's behaviour and how to deal with difficult situations with everyone.'

After finishing the course, Sophie was successful in her very first interview and started as a teaching assistant at Drayton Infant School in May.

'I got the job very quickly so the course has definitely paid off,' says


'I would definitely recommend doing it – just having that extra confidence and background knowledge is invaluable.'

To find out more about these courses please visit the website at or call us on

0344 800 8020.

In association with Norfolk County Council Adult Education Service.

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