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Starting out or working in early years and childcare

There are many different career options within the early years and childcare sector, these include:

Working in a home-based environment:

  • childminder - this is someone who looks after children in their own home and is self employed. Childminder are qualified professionals and must be registered with Ofsted
  • childminder Assistant - this is someone who is employed by a childminder to assist them
  • nanny - this is where you look after a child or children in their family home.

Working in a non-domestic setting (nursery, school, pre-school or out of school club):

  • nursery assistant - working in a nursery setting you can be employed as qualified or un-qualified
  • play worker - this can include roles such as working in an out of school club or play scheme
  • teaching assistant - Working to assist teachers in a school environment.

Men in early years workforce

It is true men still make up a small minority of staff in early years and childcare in the UK and around the world but things are changing. Some employers are not actively seeking make staff. The MITEY (Men In The Early Years) project is campaigning for greater gender diversity.

Working in childcare can be extremely rewarding whether you chose to work in a childcare setting or set up your own childminding business, there are a number of essential skills that are required to working the early years and childcare sector. These include:

  • Do I enjoy looking after and being with children?
  • Patience
  • A great imagination
  • A positive and friendly approach
  • Good communication and listening skills
  • Being a good team member and the initiative to work alone
  • Would you like a career where play is actually in your job description?
  • Am I prepared to commit towards my professional development as a childcare practitioner or a childminder?
  • Do I feel capable of respecting the individual needs of children who have different family, ethnic and cultural backgrounds to my own?
  • Will I be able to get on with parents and share information about their children?
  • What hours am I prepared to work?
  • What effect will this have on my own family?
  • What age group would I like to work with?
  • Can I offer children a happy and stimulating environment, with sufficient toys and equipment to meet their needs?
  • How do my spouse/partner and my own children feel about me looking after other children?
  • Am I clear on respecting families confidentiality?
  • Do all family members aged 16 or over understand they must complete an Enhanced DBS disclosure?
  • Having a good level of spoken and written English and Maths? If not our, there are courses which will be able to help you.
  • Qualifications needed to work in a childcare setting.

Completing a qualification in childcare will help you understand your roles, responsibilities, the environment you work in and enhance the services you provide to children and their families.

  • Having a good level of spoken and written English and Maths? If not our, there are courses which will be able to help you.

Vocational qualifications, training and apprenticeships

  • Level 2 or 3 qualification in childcare, contact the local training providers and colleges.
  • Higher education, if you already have your Level 3 you might want to consider going on to your Level 4/5 or a degree in early years and childcare.
  • EYITT (Early Years Initial Teaching Training) this is for those of you who have a degree, it does not have to be childcare related.
  • If you are looking at working in home-based childcare you can look at HBCA training this is specifically aimed at those who want to be a Childminder or Nanny. There are a number of ways to access this training please contact us.
  • Apprenticeships this is an increasingly popular choice for learners. You can look at being an apprentice as a Teacher, Teaching Assistant, Nursery Practitioner and Early Years Educator to name but a few.

Funding your training


Working in this sector is increasing in popularity and becoming an apprentice allows you to study and gain a qualification whilst earning money at the same time.

  • Government’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee - From 1 April 2021 eligible adults will be able to take courses and qualifications free of charge as part of the Government’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee offer in England. There are around 400 qualifications available in a range of sectors, including Level 3 courses in early education and childcare.
  • Ask your work coach - Talking to your work coach about any opportunities for funded training, work schemes or apprenticeships is a great place to start.
  • Ask your local college/training provider - Many colleges, training providers and adult further education institutes offer concessions or payment plans for certain courses. Many are also taking part in the Lifetime Skills Guarantee scheme. It is worth having a conversation to find out if you could get access to courses at a reduced rate or even free.
  • Find an apprenticeship by visiting the Best Practice Network website for more information about apprenticeship recruitment.

Useful links:

If you want to be paid to look after children in your own home, you may need to register with Ofsted. View the talking childminders page for everything you need to know

Full day care

Care provided at any time (day or night) for children under eight on premises other than domestic premises for more than a total of two hours a day.

  • Day care providers must be registered with Ofsted.
  • You must normally register on the Ofsted Early Years Register if you want to care for children from birth to five.
  • You must register on the compulsory part of the Childcare Register if you want to care for children from five to seven.

Sessional day care/Pre-School

Normally take children for sessions lasting less than 3 hours in length per day.

  • Sessional day care includes the following types of provision: pre school playgroup and out of school provision for school aged children.
  • You will still need to apply to join the early years register as 'childcare on non-domestic premises' (the same category as full day care), if you are caring for children within the early years foundation stage, however the annual registration fee will be less.

If you are looking to set up day care within the Telford & Wrekin borough you can contact us on 01952 385423 or talkingchildcare@teford.gov.uk.


Completing a qualification will help you to understand more about your role, improve confidence in your knowledge and skills and increase job satisfaction. 

We recognise that being properly trained and qualified is probably more important today than it has ever been and there is a direct correlation between higher qualifications and better outcomes for children. 

Our local colleges and recommended training providers:Visit the Telford Job Box website.

Please contact your chosen provider directly to find out more about individual courses, costs, support provided plus careers advice.

Every local authority currently has a statutory duty to carry out a childcare sufficiency assessment, at least every three years, and regularly updated thereafter. The most recent assessment was published in January 2021.

The assessment involves looking at the childcare available in each local area and getting an understanding from parents, carers, employers and children as to their childcare needs. It is used to help authorities identify gaps in the market and to plan how to address them.

Section 6 of the Childcare Act 2006 gives local authorities a duty to secure, as far as is reasonably practicable, sufficient childcare to meet the requirement of working parents. The assessment is an important tool in providing us with the evidence and information we need. We then work in partnership with childcare providers and others, to help raise standards of childcare in Telford and Wrekin and to ensure that our parents and carers have sufficient childcare, suitable for their requirements.

Castle House Childcare Nursery:

ABC Nursery:

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Last updated: 22/11/2022 15:05

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