5 Jobs Working with Children and How to Get Them in the UK
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Working with children can be an incredibly rewarding job, whether you are helping with the development of toddlers and tots or supporting teenagers in discovering what they want to do in life. From nursery assistants to teachers, those who work in childcare and education are an integral part of a child’s life, as well as being a much-needed support for working families.
There are many options to choose from when it comes to a career with kids, and with affordable online courses available such as Level 2 Teacher Training and the Level 3 Education and Training, there are many flexible ways to get into child-focused careers.
One of the most popular employment opportunities open to those who want to work with kids is, of course, teaching. From primary school to college, teachers are an integral part of a child’s life and development at all ages. Another great advantage to teaching (aside from being a huge influence on the next generation and igniting a passion for learning of course!) is that you can go into an area you are interested and knowledgeable about to inspire young people; which also means there are many pathways to get into teaching.
Teachers hold degrees in a variety of subjects, but after completing your degree in your chosen subject, you then need to go on to gain QTS (Qualified Teacher Status). According to UCAS, there are many routes to obtaining this depending on your past experience.
Average Teacher Salary in the UK
If you want to work with kids from 6 months to 4 years old then working in a nursery could be for you. There are many opportunities to get into being a Nursery Nurse or Nursery Assistant, and it has the advantage of being able to learn on the job. With the Early Years Educator Level 3, you learn invaluable theoretical knowledge as well as practical skills covering child development, nutrition, professional roles and safeguarding to ensure you give the children in your care the best start in life.
Roles within most Nurseries vary from lunchtime assistants to room leaders and management. Lunchtime assistants, much like in a school setting, largely tackle the domestic duties such as preparing lunches and helping with the daily running of the nursery. Nursery assistants are often employed in larger nurseries, and work with the children to ensure they are cared for as well as meeting their development milestones e.g. developing their language skills, knowledge of shapes and numbers and motor skills. These two positions often don’t require a formal qualification; however Nursery Nurses have to have a qualification which you can often gain whilst working, such as a Level 3 Educator qualification.
Average Nursery Assistant Salary in the UK
For those wanting to go into the healthcare sector with children, paediatric nursing is the obvious choice. Paediatric nurses are Registered Nurses, so obtaining a nursing degree first and then specialising in working with children is the common route to this career. Going to university is one route to nursing, or you could start out as a healthcare assistant at a local hospital and train on the job to become a nurse. According to the Step Into the NHS website, paediatric nurses usually need 5 GCSE’s and at least 2 A Levels. After A Level, most paediatric nurses enrol onto a nursing degree course, however there are apprenticeships available throughout the UK.
Average Paediatric Nurse Salary in the UK
For those who want to work with more challenging children, or offer support for kids with difficulties, there are a variety of roles available depending on the area you want to work in. If you have an interest in helping children with learning difficulties, dyslexia, dyspraxia or those on the autism spectrum then experience working with children with those conditions as well as knowledge of the conditions is essential. Gaining work experience in a specialist school, volunteering at a youth club and taking a course on educational and behavioural difficulties is a great way to get into that sector.
Degrees such as Education Studies, Child Development and Psychology will also stand you in good stead, as you have an advanced knowledge of how to help children with complex needs.
Average Teaching Assistant Salary in the UK
Babysitter / Nanny
If you are just starting out looking for experience working with children, babysitting can be the perfect way to get it. Looking after kids, however, can be more challenging than many people think, so gaining experience caring for kids for a few hours here are there can help build your confidence and knowledge about working with children.
Becoming a nanny could be seen as the next step on from babysitting, and nannies are certainly in great demand among many working families. As a nanny however, you are taking on a lot more responsibility and often live with the family during the week; becoming another member of the family in many cases. There are many different routes to get into nannying, and ultimately it is down to the parents to decide what they want from their nanny.
Average Nanny Salary in the UK
Top 5 Skills Employers Look for in Childcare Workers
Good Communication Skills
No matter what age children you are caring for, and what role you are employed in, the ability to communicate with the children themselves as well as your colleagues is essential.
Empathy & Compassion
Working with kids can sometimes be tricky as they often aren’t able to voice their thoughts or emotions. Being able to empathise with children is key to being a good childcare worker.
Ability to Remain Calm Under Pressure
Anyone who has spent time around children will know it can often be stressful. The ability to stay calm and collected is one of the top qualities which employers look for.
Attention to Detail
Being able to pay close attention to detail is key for many reasons. From ensuring the safety of the children to tracking their development, as a childcare worker being able to pick up on the small things definitely counts.
Problem Solving Skills
Whether you are a nursery assistant or a paediatric nurse, there will be problems which arise which you will need to be able to handle. Develop your problem-solving skills and you could be on your way to a rewarding career with children