(If you’re looking for information on help with childcare costs, find out more at childcare costs and support for families.)
Working in childcare and early years education can be an incredibly fulfilling and rewarding career. You get the opportunity to make a difference to children’s lives and play a key role in their growth and development. Through education and play, you’ll help lay foundations and teach children useful skills that prepare them for school and later life.
There are multiple different roles you could consider:
- Nursery workers help babies and children up to 5 years old to develop and learn in a safe and supportive setting. You can become a nursery worker through gaining a qualification from a college course or an apprenticeship, or you can apply directly.
- Nursery managers run early years settings, coordinating care and education for babies and young children. Many people start as a nursery worker, then move into a management role. You will usually need at least 2 years’ experience working in a childcare setting, or you can apply directly with a university degree in child development or other related college qualifications.
- Childminders offer professional early education and childcare in their own homes, supporting the early learning and development for children of all ages. You must either register with Ofsted (external website) or a childminder agency (external website). New childminders can apply for start-up grants (external website) (£600 if registering with Ofsted, or £1,200 if registering with an agency).
Apprenticeships offer hands-on experience and training towards early years qualifications, all whilst earning a salary.
There are two entry-level early years apprenticeships, and both can be suitable even if you have no previous experience:
- level 2 early years practitioner
- level 3 early years educator