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Working in early years

Working in the early years workforce is the place to be!

There's never been a better time to work with children from birth to five years old.

Early years is a dynamic and vitally important sector which needs high quality staff at all levels. Those working in this field play a crucial role in shaping the lives of future generations. So whether you are male, female, young or old it's a career that you can rightly be very proud.

A career in early years is rewarding and profoundly important. Most people who work in the sector love their jobs and look forward to going to work every day. There are few other career choices which will provide you with as many smiles during the working day and such an important impact on the future.

There are many different roles in the early years sector with opportunities for everyone to start a career, whether you want to work full-time, part-time or initially to volunteer. If you are interested in management, you could end up being your own boss, running your own nursery, with responsibility for staff, budgets and building effective relationships with parents.

As you progress your early years career you could aspire to become an early years professional, combining both high level practitioner skills and leading other practitioners in a variety of settings.

The work you might expect to be involved in when working in early years includes:

  • Encouraging children to develop social skills and discover more about the world through play
  • Supporting children to explore the outdoors and their community
  • Helping children to develop number and language skills through a wide variety of activities
  • Feeding, bathing and dressing babies and youngest children, changing nappies and preparing bottles or baby food
  • Nurturing children's natural curiosity
  • Taking care of children's personal needs and helping them to learn to dress themselves, use cutlery and use the lavatory.
  • Ensuring appropriate health and safety and child protection requirements are met
  • Building relationships with parents and other family members to support their child's development.
  • Observing and assessing children and producing brief written reports
  • Consulting and attending meetings with other professionals, eg social workers, health workers or speech therapists

If you have passion, enthusiasm, and enjoy working with young children this could be the career for you.  

Want to find out more about working in early years? Then click 'Case studies', 'Which role is best for me' and 'Qualifications and training' to the left of this page.

Page updated: 22 December 2011

Early Years and the Teaching Agency

In April 2012 CWDC's Early Years projects will move to The Teaching Agency, a new executive agency of the Department for Education (DfE).

Find out more

Find out about the different roles in early years

Which role is best for me?

Early years local authority contacts

For more information about your options, speak with your local early years team

Contact your local authority early years team

Hear from people who work in early years

Early years real life stories

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Recent news

Fully funded Early Years Professional Status places still available 06 January
Applications to the January 2012 Early Years Professional Status (EYPS) programme will remain open until January 17.

© Children’s Workforce Development Council 2012  |  Part of the Sector Skills Council, Skills for Care and Development.
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