Do you like working with children, helping them learn, making sure they are well-looked after?
Are you approachable and patient?
Then childcare could be the sector for you.
- In 2017 around 246,000 people worked in the education and training sector across the South West and 489,000 worked in the South East, which includes Oxford, Thames Valley and Solent. (Source: NOMIS)
- With population growth new schools are being built so there are more jobs becoming available in education.
Routes into this sector
There are various types of qualifications available at different levels.
- GCSEs in English, maths will help get you into this sector.
- At 16 you could do A Levels, which are general academic subjects or develop your knowledge and skills for this sector through an apprenticeship/traineeship or through a vocational qualification.
- At 18 or 19 you could do a higher education/degree level course, with 8 out of 10 A Level students choosing this pathway and half of all BTEC National students. However there are also other routes into your chosen career - through apprenticeships and vocational qualifications.
There are jobs in this sector where you can start with few qualifications and receive training on the job through an apprenticeship and for others, like a health care playworker, a higher education qualification, like an HND or degree might be required.
Use the Course Search
Use the relevant search options on our Course Search to find college and university courses as well as vacancies for apprenticeships.
More help finding courses and training
Work experience, either voluntary or paid, will help you stand out when applying for education and training jobs, and the more experience you have, the better. Working in summer camps or helping to run sports activities for children also provide beneficial experiences.
There are many career pathways in this sector and you need to first consider what age group you would like to work with and whether you want a support role such as a teaching assistant, or do you want to become a teacher? If you want to know more about teaching look in the education section.
- To find out more about careers and qualifications needed for child care look at the Skills for Care & Development site.
- To find out whether there is an apprenticeship training course related to childcare that might suit you.
- To search for an apprenticeship vacancies available now related to childcare across England (you need a vacancy to be able to apply)
- To find apprenticeship vacancies near you. Also, there are other ways to find an apprenticeship explained here.
- To find a vocational course at a college related to childcare (also check the college's website to get the latest list of courses)
- To find a university level course related to childcare.
Spotlight on teaching assistant
Teaching assistants work alongside class teachers in primary and secondary schools. A teaching assistant’s role will be varied. This will include working with small groups or one-to-one with pupils, providing additional support for those who are disabled or have learning difficulties. You would also manage the classroom environment – e.g. preparing for lessons, organising displays and keeping the classroom tidy and be involved in setting up events and outings.
The role is usually quite flexible, full or part time and generally term time only. It can be very rewarding and you will be a role model for the pupils you support. You need excellent communication skills with good reading and writing skills. You have to be flexible, patient, organised and creative. It is also good to have had some experience of working with children and teenagers, through work experience or volunteering.
There are no specific qualifications relating to the role, each school or local authority will have their own criteria but you are required to pass the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check for safeguarding the welfare. There will be opportunities for training and development when you are in post. You can go on to become a Higher level Teaching Assistant and some do go on to train as teachers.