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Nursery worker

Nursery workers help babies and children up to 5 years old to develop and learn in a safe and supportive setting.

Annual Salary

£14,500 to £23,000

Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 40 a week

You could work: between 8am and 6pm; on a rota

Future employment

There will be 5.4% more Nursery worker jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

As a nursery worker you will:

  • plan and supervise activities like arts and crafts, music and cooking
  • help children to learn numeracy and language skills through games, singing and story telling
  • take children on outings
  • feed and change babies
  • keep indoor and outdoor work areas clean and safe
  • record children's development and share with parents, carers and other staff

Working environment

You may need to wear a uniform.

You could work in a nursery.

Your working environment may be physically active.

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • volunteering
  • applying directly

You can take a college course before looking for work in a nursery. Courses include:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Childcare
  • Level 3 Diploma in Early Years Education and Care - Early Years Educator
  • T Level in Education and Early Years

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T Level
For more information

You could get into this career by doing an Early Years Practitioner Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship or Early Years Educator Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship.

These take from 12 to 18 months to complete.

Find out more about early years apprenticeships

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
For more information

You can work as a nursery assistant and learn on the job. You'll usually need GCSEs in maths and English to start. Experience of working with young children will also help.

Volunteering and work experience

You can get experience by volunteering at a local nursery group or after school club. This may lead into paid work, where you could do training on the job.

Direct application

You can apply directly for jobs if you've got experience of working with young children and a qualification in childcare.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Career tips

A paediatric first aid certificate will be useful but is not essential.

Further information

You can find out more about working in childcare from Early Years Careers and the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years.

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As an experienced nursery worker you could specialise in working with children who have difficulties with learning, physical disabilities, or need support with their mental health.

With further training, you could:apply to be a room leader or senior nursery worker; move into nursery centre management; become an early years teacher

You'll find information on careers and courses in childcare from:

Foundation Years has information about early years education and childcare.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • sensitivity and understanding
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions
  • active listening skills
  • concentration skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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