I completed my two-year full-time NNEB Diploma training as a nanny in 2000. I feel that this course was of great importance to my career as a professional nanny. It covered a variety of aspects of childcare, both practical and written work. The course was in depth and when I was training you had to complete an assignment for each module. I think this is good as I feel it makes sure that pupils are able to use their learning and translate it into their own work. These were marked by pass, merit and distinction. We had a final exam at the end too.
The practical side was placements within day nursery, school, state nursery and private family settings. The one thing I would say is that as most of us were training to be nannies, the family placements should have been over a longer period. I also enjoyed the observations of children that we had to complete within these settings. It was very interesting to observe a particular child and evaluate developmental norms and general health and well being. I think that this was a great learning curve for me; it taught me a lot about child development and general stages of growth. It was easier to actually observe children and learn rather than being told in a lecture.
Professional training is so important for any child carer, but in particular nannies. It is important to have a NNEB or similar so that people do respect that this is your career and not just a fill-in job till you decide what you want to do. It separates the professional nannies from the rest; it makes people realise that we love our jobs and that we have learnt every aspect of child care including developmental norms, First Aid, weaning, learning through play, observations, childhood illnesses, learning difficulties and many more.
There are many courses available to nannies and I don’t think there are any excuses for not completing a course. A qualification enables you to be selected for jobs, it enables you to become Ofsted-registered, which again is highly recognised when applying for jobs. Training for nannies is a must: a lot of people start courses for child care and some don’t complete them as they realise that the courses are not a stroll in the park; they are intense and very informative. You don’t just learn how to feed, change or play with a baby you are learning all aspects of child care, laws and legislations, theories, First Aid, food hygiene, health and safety policies and much, much more.
Training courses should also be considered for individual careers i.e nanny, nursery nurse, etc. as, although the courses cover a general overlap of all careers, I found that I would have liked to have spent more time with a family placement and learning more about baby care and weaning etc. rather than modules relating to the management of a nursery setting.
The courses enable you to use your NNEB qualification to gain many job opportunities in childcare but I am a great believer that practice makes perfect and experiencing the working environments will help child carers to make the correct career path. Another aspect of training is working with other professionals, this maybe staff or, as a nanny, with parents. Some people may find it easier to work alongside other staff and have a manager to turn to but as a nanny you are working with the parents. This can be tough at times and being a professional is the most important thing to remember. You have to be able to talk and interact in a mature and approachable manner: you can’t go to someone’s house every day and not have a relationship with them, as this affects the child.
As a nanny you are also working alone, you are the carer, the manager, the First Aider etc. and you have to be prepared to be able to do this and work from your own initiative. A nanny who can work from their own initiative, interact and build a relationship with both parents and children, take guidance from parents, act in a mature way and be approachable is a nanny that will stand out from the rest. All of this comes with practice and also the passion to be a nanny.
If anyone is wishing to become a nanny, then training is the first step. As a nanny you should always want to be the one that stands out; everyone thinks they could be a nanny but not everyone is a professional nanny.
Katy Hayden is VOICE Nanny of the Year.