Working With Children Feature

Working with children can prove to be an immensely rewarding and fulfilling career path and the growing demand for a range of flexible childcare options in today’s society presents childcare specialists with opportunities for greater work/life balance once they have families of their own.

Julia Harris is managing director of Hale based agency North West Childcare and mother of two young sons. Her company offers a uniquely wide spectrum of childcare options and exercises stringent standards in candidate selection.

As Julia highlights, there are various options open for a career with children and one notable development is the increased status of the professional nanny: “With the era of the Supernanny, the new generation nanny has become an integral part of the household – an influential and caring figure who is much loved by the children and is responsible for sole charge development. Nanny is now a parenting mentor, as well as a vital source of support for many working women trying to balance careers and motherhood.

“Today’s nanny is no longer viewed as a domestic help, but rather as an essential care provider and childcare expert. Nanny holds a unique position of power and respect within the household. As well as impressive rates of pay, she can also expect some of the most enviable job perks around, including free holidays abroad, luxury accommodation and a car.

“There are two key routes into nannying – either via a childcare diploma through the colleges, or more commonly many moves into professional nannying following on-the-job training and qualifications whilst working in nurseries as nursery nurses.”

As well as nannies, North West Childcare recruits a range of childcare professionals including night nannies, after-school carer, mother’s helps and professional babysitters and plans to introduce a childminders’ service. Although night nannies tend to be highly experienced professional nannies, with particular expertise in the care of newborns, the other childcare options – particularly the after school carers – can provide an ideal option for either mature candidates looking to return to part-time work after having families of their own or child carers who now have their own children.

The agency also recruits professional childcare staff for many nurseries. As Julia outlines, the essential personal qualities that NWC looks for in a childcare professional are very similar for each post: “To carve out a successful career in childcare, it’s important to be kind, caring, patient, intelligent and trustworthy. It’s also vital that prospective candidates are completely reliable and resourceful, with a great deal of common sense. It should go without saying that they also need to enjoy working and interacting with children. At North West Childcare, we apply the acid test of whether or not we would like this person to look after our own children.”

Vetting is very important within the professional childcare sector. North West Childcare adheres to strict standards and treats the selection process with the utmost care. They take all the time that’s needed to ascertain the very best applicants and insist on stringent vetting procedures and three verbal references for each applicant. A registered body for the Criminal Records Bureau – and a member of the Recruitment Employment Confederation – NWC advises all its applicants to be criminal record checked, to provide added security for parents.

You can contact North West Childcare on 0161 904 0565 or log on to www.northwestchildcare.co.uk.