Childcare Works project brings new talent into the early years sector

Childcare Works is an NDNA Cymru led project and funded by external sources to support and create job opportunities in the early years sector.

Since 2019 the Childcare Works project has supported and mentored 189 individuals, 106 of which have experienced positive employment outcomes. 

The project is currently being funded by The Moondance Foundation and delivering programmes in Cardiff and Rhondda Cynon Taf which run into 2024.

The project is also funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to deliver in Conwy. The Childcare Works Project has received £87,903 from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to deliver in ‘Conwy County’. 

NDNA will be delivering two cohorts in Conwy, the first commences on 22 January 2024 and the second on 3 June 2024. 

Childcare Works is a 16-week programme focusing on practical skills and placement experience which includes support and mentoring by NDNA Cymru.  The aim is to provide the right level of support to the candidate from start to finish and achieve a positive employment outcome for the individual at the end of the programme.

Trainee Nursery Assistants (TNAs) complete a four-week NDNA training programme followed by a 12-week training placement in an early-years setting.

The first four weeks focuses on the specific skills and knowledge that a TNA requires to be able to start working in a setting.

Training is delivered by NDNA remotely via live virtual classrooms and courses include Child Centred Approaches, Promoting Positive Behaviour, Schemas, Welsh Language and Equality and Diversity.  In addition, NDNA work with external training providers to deliver mandatory courses on Safeguarding (NSPCC) and Paediatric First Aid (First Aid Training Wales).

NDNA Cymru employs Trainee Nursery Assistants for 16 hours a week on their age-related minimum wage. This gives a TNA the opportunity to develop practical skills and knowledge on the job, working with a team of professionals who can advise and guide them. It is a cost-effective way for an early years provider to develop new talent and the opportunity to create a more diverse workforce including people from different backgrounds with varying levels of experience.

To qualify to be a placement setting for the Childcare Works programme, a setting must be able to provide a suitable job role for a candidate for 12 weeks.

Once funding for the project is secured, NDNA Cymru sources candidates from specified local authorities across Wales.  Engaging with the local community, NDNA advertise at recruitment partner organisations including local authority employment programmes, job centres, Prime Cymru, Communities for Work Plus, Working Wales and adult learning programmes.

NDNA Cymru manage the recruitment process including advertising vacancies, shortlisting candidates, interviewing candidates, and arranging placements with partner settings, making sure both parties are a good fit.

NDNA provides a mentoring and support role throughout the recruitment process including help with application forms, right to work documents and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) applications which NDNA manages and pays for. TNAs are also provided with financial support for a work placement uniform, travel costs during the training period and support with care for dependents during the initial stages of the programme.

Sarah Coates, National Operations Manager (Wales) for NDNA Cymru, said: We are incredibly proud of the continuing success of the Childcare Works project and are delighted to be able to provide opportunities for individuals who might have never considered a career in the early years sector.

The Childcare Works project gives individuals the opportunity to develop their skills and become more confident in their role as trainee nursery assistants, providing a clear progression route for them within the early years sector.   With the right support and training, they can make a valuable contribution to the sector and most importantly to our children.

The early years sector is currently facing a workforce crisis and the need for it to grow with experienced, professional staff to deliver the high-quality education and care that our youngest children need and deserve is more important than ever.

Case Study: Childcare Works project – Trainee Nursery Assistant Experience

Tiffany Anzani participated in NDNA Cymru’s 16-week Childcare Works programme that was delivered in Cardiff from June to September 2023.

The programme was funded by The Moondance Foundation and supported 5 Trainee Nursery Assistants.

The trainees completed 4 weeks of training, followed by 12 weeks on placement in a childcare setting.

Tiffany completed her placement at Buttercups Day Nursery in Cardiff and this case study shares her journey and experience of participating in the programme.

I was diagnosed with a rare brain condition, Idiopathic Inter-cranial Hypertension (IIH), in June 2022, which stopped me from being able to work full time. I took a while off work to recover and tried to work part time but due to the side effect of headaches, which was too much fluid in my brain and needing multiple lumbar punctures to take pressure off, I had to give up work.

By January 2023 I had followed what my specialist said and I was released from clinic. I waited a few months, as he advised my brain needed to recover and I would have symptoms for over 3 months, at which point I actually felt worse.

I eventually started to feel myself again. I waited until June to start considering working again however, felt terrified to work thinking I would feel ill again. I found a job advertised on Indeed with NDNA to work for 16 hours per week, which included training and then experience within a nursery, which felt like something I could manage. I applied and within a day or so got a reply from Claudia (Project Manager) regarding a Zoom interview, which we set up. The interview was very informal and relaxed, asking questions about experience and availability. After a week, I got a call to say that I had been accepted and within a few days we started the course. We completed lessons delivered by NDNA via a live virtual classroom along with outside training such

as, Safeguarding, Paediatric First Aid, Speech and Language and a session on how to get into childminding should we choose that route after the programme. Once training came to an end, I started my 12 week placement in a childcare setting. Claudia found me a placement close by and on 5th July I went for a look around and took my documents to show the setting manager too.  I started working 9:30-3:30 for 3 days a week. 

I first worked in the baby room for 3 weeks, then moved to toddlers for 3 weeks, then I was moving to the 3-4 year old room. The owner asked me about joining them full time, I thought about it for a while as I was unsure if so many hours would be too much of a challenge for me. 

I thought long and hard and after a few days in 3-4’s I was taken on by the nursery as a member of staff. I had a holiday booked, so started on 30th August 2023, working 42 ½  hours per week. It’s been just over a month and I still have lots to learn however, I am due to start Level 3 CCPLD qualification with them shortly.

Overall, when I started the Childcare Works programme I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with myself but I’m happy I’m here. The children are lovely and it’s a joy to spend my days with them. Thanks to Claudia and everyone with NDNA for the opportunity and to Buttercups for seeing the potential and taking me on full time.

Comment from Buttercups Day Nursery

“As a nursery we have found NDNA’s Childcare Works project to be extremely beneficial. It is lovely to see that NDNA are being proactive in supporting the introduction of new childcare staff into the workforce. It is a fantastic project, and I would recommend it to anyone.”

  • Wales

Similar Articles

Labour responds to NDNA’s concerns about nurseries in schools plan

Labour’s Shadow Education Minister Bridget Phillipson has responded to NDNA’s concerns about Labour’s plans for…
Read more

The week of the Manifestos

This week we’ve seen the Liberal Democrats, Conservatives and Labour party unveil their 2024 election…
Read more