Working in childcare: Employee case study

Carrie Packham describes her job as a deputy manager at a pre-school. 

What is your role?

As deputy manager, I fill in for the manager whenever necessary, but we work very closely together, especially as there is so much preparation and organisation involved in running the pre-school.

What do you like about your job?

Every day is different. It is all about the journey we make with the children, seeing them develop as they mature and watching them grow.

What’s not so great about it?

I don’t particularly like changing nappies, but it has to be done!

The pay is not enough to live on, especially as we have to spend so many extra hours covering other jobs that have to be done, such as clearing up, cleaning all areas ready for the next day, sorting out problems and dealing with parents.

We also have to spend a great deal of time planning ahead in order to be organised for the whole term.

How did you get to where you are?

I started out bringing my children to the group and then helping out, and I had to be DBS checked. I was then asked to stay on by the manager and to take qualifications.

I now have a Level 3 NVQ in Childcare and am planning to do a degree.

What do you want to do next?

I am very happy doing what I am doing at present. However, while I would like to find the money to complete a degree in early years education, it is very expensive. On pre-school pay I would be unhappy taking out a loan to pay back the costs. At present I would find it difficult to do the study hours required.

I think that the government could help more with training. They could provide funding for relevant qualifications and training, such as NVQ Level 2 and 3 in Childcare or Early Years.

What advice would you give young people thinking of doing your job in the future?

Make sure you really like working with very young children and babies and get some work experience. Be prepared to do whatever has to be done to make things work smoothly.

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