Working in childcare

Working with children is a fast-growing profession offering plenty of variety and great prospects.

What type of work would suit me?

Firstly, think about the age group you want to work with. Work with children aged from birth up to five years is usually called 'early years' and includes nursery nurses, playgroup and creche workers.

Work with over fives outside school hours is normally called 'playwork' and includes working in before and after school or holiday clubs. You should consider whether you want to work full or part time. See more information about the different roles available.

You could look at becoming a registered childminder, this is where you work in your own home and provide childcare which could include holiday care and before and after school services.

What should I do next?

So you've decided what type of work might be suitable for you - but what's the next step? Take a look at the Cache - 'Choosing Early Years as a career' information page.


Before committing yourself to a job or training, it might be helpful to get some experience working with the age group that interests you. Local playgroups, church groups and holiday playschemes usually welcome volunteers.

It may also be possible to gain experience on a voluntary basis in other settings (you will probably need a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check before you can volunteer in a setting). Find out more about volunteering.


To work in the childcare field, it is recommended that you gain a childcare qualification. Some courses will require full time attendance at college (eg CACHE Diploma/NNEB) with some of your time spent with children in a placement.

Other courses may be completed by part-time attendance at college while you are working. If you are currently unemployed Jobcentre Plus may be able to fund certain training courses, check with your local job centre advisor.

National Day Nursery Association offers a free online training course, introduction to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). The aim of the course is to provide a basic overview and understanding of the revised EYFS, key changes to the EYFS, Development Matters and Ofsted inspection framework.

This will help develop knowledge and understanding of high quality childcare provision. To access this online training course, learners will need to register for a free account on NDNA's Early Years Development Zone. For any enquiries, please contact NDNA's training department on 01484 407070.

This page was last updated on 16 August 2021

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