Do I need to be qualified?

To get a career and progress in childcare it is absolutely crucial for you to undertake high quality training in Early Years Childcare and Playwork.

Children and their families need well-qualified adults who are sensitive to their needs and have the expertise and experience to support them.

Experience of looking after your own or another family member's children is always useful, but following a recognised training course will equip you with the skills to do your job well and to understand and appreciate a child's development.

A range of relevant qualifications are available at local colleges. These can be on a full-time, part-time or day release basis. Other training such as National Vocational Qualifications can take place on the job, at your own pace.

The Open University also offers an NVQ Level 3 in Children's Care, Learning and Development (CCLD) via distance learning, where you learn in your own time at a pace that suits you.

Financial help and training may be available from College Access funds - contact your local college or your Early Years Development & Childcare Partnership for details. Or you could access support through the Genesis Project on 0800 0196330. See Genesis pages of this website for more information.

For Nursery Work - As a trainee you'd usually start off working towards NVQ Level 2 in Children's Care, Learning and Development (CCLD), in a supervised position in a day care setting, progressing to Level 3 on the job.
For qualified staff at Manager or Supervisor level, nurseries are usually looking for:
  • NVQ Level 3 in Children's Care, Learning and Development (CCLD), or
  • CACHE (the Council for Awards in Children's Care and Education) Level 3 Diploma in Childcare and Education (this used to be known as the NNEB Diploma in Nursery Nursing).

For Pre-Schools and Playgroups - As a trainee you'd usually start off by working towards becoming an Assistant in a supervised role in a pre-school or playgroup setting. The main qualification for this is:
  • CACHE NVQ Level 2 in Children's Care, Learning and Development (CCLD), or
  • NCFE NVW Level 2 Learning and Development (which you can do through Parents Plus).
You could then progress to a Managerial or Supervisory position on the job. The main qualification for this is:
  • CACHE Diploma in Playgroup Practice (Wales).
  • CACHE NVQ Level 3 in CCLD.

For Childminding - All new Childminders will need to complete a short pre-registration course within the first six months. Many are also working towards qualifications to help them provide a better service to children and families, and to assist their career development. The most usual qualification taken by Childminders (encompassing the pre-registration course) is:
  • Diploma in Home Based Childcare (a vocational qualification at Level 3, run by CACHE, the Council for Awards in Children's Care and Education, in association with the National Childminding Association).

For Playwork - There are a number of short introductory courses available that will give you the background and basic skills needed to work in an out of school setting. One example that you may like to consider is:
  • A Taste of Play - a 2 hour taster course - followed by:
  • Introduction to Play - 16 hour course.
As a trainee you would usually begin working towards a Level 2 qualification to become an Assistant Playworker.
You may then choose to progress towards a Supervisory role by gaining a Level 3 qualification. The main qualification for each of these is:
  • NVQ Levels 2 and 3 in Playwork.
Higher level qualifications in Playwork include:
  • The NVQ Level 4 in Playwork.
  • The Management Charter Initiative NVQ Levels 4 and 5.
This can also be used for management of other Early Years, Childcare and Playwork settings.

For becoming an approved Nanny/ home based childcarer
Nannies do not currently have to be registered with CSSIW although there is a voluntary register of home based childcarers operated by CSSIW, which verifies that the individual: has a suitable childcare qualification; has undergone appropriate and recent first aid training and carries out an Enhanced Criminal Records Bureau Disclosure (CRB check). There is a cost of around 104 for registering and, depending on the motivation behind registering, this may be payable by the nanny or the employer.

For more information contact the Childcare Approval Scheme Manager on 0300 062 5405/5609.

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