Child care is a growth industry, on account of how people keep having babies. Last year the number of births reached a 40 year high, and at some point, all of those little sprogs are going to need looking after. The number of nursery nurse jobs in London alone is going rocket.

So, what do you need if you want to get a slice of that sweet, sweet child care money pie?

Make Sure You Have The Right Qualifications

The good news is that for a lot of entry-level positions in child care you don’t need anything in the way of formal qualifications. That said, it’s a good idea to take a recognised course in child care, as the government has been getting keen on working on a standardised qualification for nursery workers lately.

However, many of these courses will allow you to work part time, so if you don’t have the resources to take on a full-time college course you will be able to find more flexible alternatives.

The quality and content of child care courses can vary wildly, but the good ones will explain current best practices while giving you an opportunity to gain some work experience. The qualifications at the end of these courses will be along the lines of an NVQ in child care or a CACHE diploma. You should beware the easier looking courses. Recent reviews have raised concerns that some child care courses are less academically rigorous than some animal care courses, and even the qualification at the end of it looks as good as any other, it could leave you unprepared for the actual job you’re applying for.

Before you can even start thinking about getting the right qualifications there are other things you’ll have to consider such as:

Make Sure You Actually Like Children

Of course you like children! Who doesn’t love children? With their little hands and cute little faces and their crayons and such? Okay, how much time have you actually spent with children? Real ones? You know, the ones that have snot coming out one end and poo out the other, and then really loud noises out of the first end again and then, suddenly, just when you think you’ve taken care of everything they’ll manage to start bleeding all over everything?

Whether it’s the small ones who have just figured out that making sounds can cause people to do what you want, but aren’t so big on the specifics yet, or the slightly older ones who might even have grasped concepts like “Please” and “Thankyou”- in that they are literally magic words that will bend grown-ups to your will.

That isn’t to say there aren’t plenty of adorable and likeable things about children, but if you’ve not had any real experience with children before, it’s going to come as a shock.

Make Sure You Can Actually Tolerate The Parents

If you’ve ever worked in a bar, you know it’s not long until you hate all the customers. Doctors inevitably end up hating their patients. Those lovely people in the job centre hate the poor unemployed souls that come to their desk once every two weeks. This is a fact of life, and it’s equally true that, while you might be able to actively like the children in your care, their parents are soon going to be driving you actually crazy.

Whether they’ve raised a little monster who they refuse to believe has ever misbehaved, or whether they believe their perfectly happy child is prone to a medical dictionaries worth of terrifying medical maladies, or, very worst of all, the parents who seem kind of indifferent to the presence of their offspring at all, you will find a host of varied reasons to feel a very real and vivid hatred for the parents of the children in your care. Unfortunately, unlike the children, you can’t tell the parents to go and sit on the naughty step when they start acting up, so you’d better have a high tolerance levels if you’re going to be working with them every day.

About the author: Chris Farnell is a freelance writer whose interests include media, childcare and nursery nurse jobs in London.


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