On Saturday 6th February I attended a fantastic day at the “Meeting of Minds” event arranged by Margaret Cowell of nannytraininglink.
Margaret began proceedings by introducing the assembled audience to the Association of Nanny Agencies (ANA) which represents many established nanny agencies from all around the country. This was followed by presentation from First Aid for Life (a first aid course provider) and Way2paye (a specialist payroll company).
ANA had some great ideas about working together. My own company, Nanny Matters, saw clear opportunities to collaborate with ANA and provide them with more feedback about the ups and downs of nanny life.
Each agency highlighted their particular struggles and successes. We became aware of the long hours of hard work that nanny agencies dedicate to provide the very best service for nannies and their employers, dealing with (among others)
- negotiating and securing contracts;
- providing employment and childcare advice;
- gathering verifiable references;
- making DBS checks;
- arranging training;
- promoting career development; and
- sourcing reliable, trustworthy and suitably qualified nannies.
The nanny agencies with which we met already belong to ANA and encouraged us to give feedback on families, working conditions and pay. At the meeting, Nanny Matters was able to communicate feedback already gathered from the Nanny Matters meet ups and forums like Dulwich Nannies on Facebook. We propose to maintain close contact, hoping that this honest, objective feedback will help improve recruitment and working conditions for everyone.
Way2paye provide an excellent service tailored specifically for the childcare sector and are worth mentioning for their pragmatic and professional approach to tax and pay. Again Nanny Matters highly recommends them.
The clear message from the meeting was that agencies are keen to develop and execute better communication strategies as well as a more joined-up approach to working. This is key to establishing long, happy and mutually beneficial relationships between nannies and agencies.
For its part, Nanny Matters is looking forward to embracing the opportunities presented at the meeting to ensure a bright future by working with nannies and agencies to improve
- the professional image of the childcare sector through the EYFS curriculum;
- education and career development through the provision of specialist training;
- confidence through better information exchange to share ideas and experiences so that nannies and their employers better understand not just the legal and regulatory environment but also appreciate the realities of working as a nanny/child-carer.
We can only imagine how much easier and more successful finding a fabulous nanny role will be if nanny agencies and nannies work more closely. Our thanks to Margaret for arranging and chairing such a wonderful networking event: it was an inspiring, thought-provoking meeting!