Childcare Works bring vital new staff into the sector

National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) Cymru’s Childcare Works programme continues to bring vital new recruits into the into the Childcare, Early Years and Play sector.

The project, funded by the European Social Fund through Welsh Government and managed by Wales Council for Voluntary Action, is aimed at recruiting individuals, over the age of 25, not currently employed and looking for a career in childcare, to become paid trainee nursery assistants.

Those accepted receive essential and mandatory childcare training, such as safeguarding and paediatric first aid, as well as training on the All Wales Introduction Framework and a complete DBS check. The training is then followed by a 12-week paid placement at a partner nursery setting. Trainees are fully supported throughout the project by the NDNA Cymru Childcare Works team and hopefully go on to start a career in the childcare and early years sector.

The project has had several effective roll-outs across Wales, between 2016 and 2022, and has successfully found employment for over 70 recruits for cohorts from 2019 to 2022. The current project, running across Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Caerphilly, Conwy and Denbighshire, has recruited 35 participants and has already guided 21 trainees into further employment, of which 17 have been employed within early years or education.

Ashleigh Thomas, Childcare Works trainee who has recently taken a permanent role, said: “I have always wanted to work with children but never thought it would be possible due to not having any qualifications or experience in the Childcare Sector. I had spent years working in admin and then took time out of work to care for my children. After five years, I was ready to return to work and came across the Childcare Works project which was the perfect opportunity.

“The project is fantastic with an excellent set up. After being out of work for some time, I was a little nervous, but I was offered a high level of support throughout the whole process. My confidence grew week by week, as did my knowledge. The training is informative, interesting and gives you a great insight of what to expect when in your setting, it covers everything. The Induction Framework for Early Years and Childcare really helped me. Completing the workbooks showed me I had understood what I had learnt and also gave me confidence and prepared me for my placement.

“My placement was amazing; it was great to be able to put everything I had learnt into practice and further develop my skills. I loved the setting and the variety of each day. I couldn’t imagine working in any other setting now.

“The nursery where I had my placement have now offered me a job with them where I will complete my Level 3 CCPLD qualification. I couldn’t believe it, I am thrilled and very excited for the future. In just a few months my life has changed for the better and I have a job that I love doing. If it wasn’t for the Childcare Works project I would never have been able to pursue my dream of working with children. I am very grateful for the opportunities the project has given me and would encourage anybody wanting to work with children to sign up.”

Morris Mouse Day Nursery, Swansea

“We provided a placement for a trainee on the Childcare Works project and it worked really well. It was a great help that before the trainee starts, she has already completed all the mandatory courses and her DBS and placement hours had been arranged by the Project Coordinator. It was useful that the trainee had completed elements of the All Wales Induction Framework prior to starting placement and continued to complete elements whilst on placement with us, to further support her knowledge and development of working within the childcare, early years and play sector. We were very pleased with our trainee, she had a good work ethic and was eager to learn about the nursery and children and she gained confidence each week. We offered the trainee a permanent position at our nursery and she has accepted.

“The Childcare Works project is a fantastic, supported employment scheme, which assists with workforce recruitment within the childcare sector, something that is desperately needed in the current climate. By the trainee completing a 12-week placement, we were confident that the person we employed at the end of the project was suitable for the role and suitable for our nursery. We also appreciate all the support we received from the Project Coordinator Lesley, she was in regular contact with us and we knew that we could contact her at any time. We would be more than happy to provide a placement for other trainees in the future. The Childcare Works project works!”

Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of NDNA Cymru, said: “We all are incredibly proud of the continued success of this project.

“Nurseries care for and educate our youngest children, preparing them for a life of learning and success. But nurseries need the right members of staff to be able to deliver this high-quality care and education.

“Unfortunately, nurseries in Wales are finding it incredibly difficult to find these candidates, but our initiative goes some way in helping nurseries bridge this gap. It has encouraged individuals who would not have considered childcare as a career option and opened them up to all the amazing opportunities that can be found in our wonderful sector.

“Staff, settings and most importantly children are benefitting from a more diverse workforce this programme is creating, and I could not be more pleased with the work NDNA Cymru have done over the last few years in supporting this.”

Sarah Coates, Policy and Strategic Partnerships Manager for NDNA Cymru, said: “Childcare Works opens up a career in childcare and early years to people, who may never have considered it before. The project allows them to undertake a practical work placement opportunity within the sector, letting them experience this rewarding career choice. Training and ongoing support is given to participants which teaches them valuable skills to help them undertake a fulfilling career in childcare.

“The sector has grown over the last couple of years to offer more opportunities to our youngest children and support working families. NDNA are supporting individuals in gaining the skills, knowledge and confidence needed to start a new, rewarding career teaching some of the youngest members of society.

“Partner nurseries have a chance to work with future job candidates, help them grow into the roll, but also, a chance to make their workforce more diverse as participants bring with them a wealth of different life experiences which can help enrich a young child’s learning and development.”

To find out more information and read case studies of those who took part in Childcare Works phase one click here. Alternatively, contact the NDNA Cymru office on 01824 707823.

  • Wales
  • Caerphilly
  • Childcare Works
  • Conwy
  • Denbighshire
  • European Social Fund
  • Neath Port Talbot
  • Rhondda Cynon Taf
  • Swansea
  • Welsh Government

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