At a recent London Enterprise Panel meeting at the Erith campus of Bexley College, it was interesting to discover just how much how much employment options have changed for those coming through the education sector and are embarking on the first steps on the career ladder.
Since I started work in 1982 I have rarely had to move jobs; but when I did, invariably I chose to do so either through choice e.g. to secure better prospects or because I had to e.g. redundancy.
Today, young people cannot rely on continual work, a “career ladder” or the often talked about “job for life”. It is much more often the case that employees have multiple jobs, frequently change jobs sometimes out of necessity sometimes not, are subject to zero hours contracts, and must continually develop the skills-sets applicable to their job; all these (and many others, I’m sure) are prerequisites and reality in the current economic climate and fast-changing job market.
How does this affect nannies?
Nannies at one stage would predominantly be employed until the children went to secondary school meaning that many nannies looked after children until they were 10 or 11 years old. Today this is rare. A number of factors have contributed, among them
- greater childcare choices for parents with many schools opening up breakfast and after school clubs;
- a proliferation of structured holiday schemes offered by schools and local authorities;
- the cost of nannies which has historically risen with some nannies earning up to £35,000 per annum; and
- more flexible working arrangements for parents of young including changes to maternity leave and the advent of paternity leave
In order to respond to these changes the nanny profession has needed to change by
- being flexible on working days and hours;
- nannies taking on multiple jobs to fill the working week e.g. working Monday and Tuesday for one employer and Wednesday to Friday for another; and
- nannies taking on multiple roles e.g. working as a nanny for several days a week and for the remainder of the week in a related profession (e.g. as a Doula) or in a completely different sector e.g. as a secretary.
In the ever changing and competitive employment market it is imperative that nannies maintain a professional image by keeping skills up to date to ensure the best possible chance of securing the best opportunities. Nannies can do this by supplementing formal qualifications (e.g. NNEB or BTEC in childcare or health and social care) with practical courses in childcare and related issues that are specific to nannies and child-carers. For example:
- courses in first aid (which should in any event be up to date and are important to maintain OFSTED registration too);
- courses in child nutrition (to reflect current initiatives and best practice (e.g. the recent advice being given on balanced diets and the current revised thinking on sugar intake);
- keeping DBS (formerly CRB) checks in date (which are automated for OFSTED registered nannies but can be arranged through a nanny agency); and
- looking to diversify into related professions such as maternity nursing, play specialist, teaching, and social work (many courses can be taken part-time whilst working as a nanny or child-carer).
It was evident from the LEP meeting that anyone seeking work (whether as an electrician, accountant or nanny) must undertake CPD (Continued Professional Development), not just to widen options but to demonstrate to a potential employer that the applicant has a genuine interest in their chosen career path, appreciates that learning is valued and regarded as important in order to fulfill the role successfully, and makes an genuine effort to remain informed and skilled and knowledgeable.
Nanny Link Ltd offers consultancy to those who aspire to enter the profession or already work in it; and via its training organisation, nannytraininglink, provides essential and supplementary (often modular) OFSTED-compliant and Cache-endorsed training courses on a wide range of subjects from interview preparation to professional nanny training to help nannies achieve the success they deserve and maintain their professional commitment.