How to become a crèche assistant: Lia's story

Meet Lia. She's 22 and grew up in Oxfordshire. Find out about her job as a crèche assistant at her local leisure centre. Part of our Bitesize world of work series.

"Getting a job was a bit scary at first but it got easier. Stick with it."

What are you main tasks in your job?

At the crèche, I work with a team to set up the toys in the morning. Sometimes we set up things like play dough too. I talk and read to the children. I also help with organising snack time and tidying up afterwards.

Lia on an exercise machine at the leisure centre

What skills do you use?

I need to have patience and good communication skills to interact with the children. I also sometimes talk to the parents when they pick their children up after the session. Time management is also important because I’ve got to set the toys set up, get the snacks ready and keep everything clean. I need good teamwork skills too because I work with other people in the crèche.

Is this the job you always knew you wanted to do?

I wanted to work on the computers in reception but I found it a bit hard. Then my job coach at Mencap suggested that I work in the crèche as an assistant and that was better for me.

How did you get into your job?

My mum talked to Mencap and they told us about a supported internship called 'Interns and Outcomes'. The supported internship took nine months to complete. I worked at the leisure centre and studied for two days a week with my job coach Mike. We looked at Maths, English and employability skills. When Mike stepped back towards the end of the supported internship, it made me quite nervous, but then I got offered a paid job.

What was your educational career path?

I didn't do GCSEs. I did an online qualification with Mencap in Maths and English instead. This route worked much better for me.

Top tips

  • Getting a job was a bit scary at first but it got easier. Stick with it.

  • Have a look at Mencap because it will help you a lot – you get a lot of support.

  • Try lots of new things so you can find out what you enjoy.

Mencap's Employment and Education service - support into work

Lia got her job as a crèche assistant through Mencap's 'Interns and Outcomes' supported internship programme. The support she's had from Mencap's Employment and Education service is available for young people with a learning disability who may be looking for support. Mencap believes being employed is about more than earning money. It’s about:

  • feeling valued
  • being independent
  • getting fulfilment.

Mencap's Three Ships

Mencap’s employment services support people with a learning disability to develop the skills and confidence needed to get a job. They offer three programmes, referred to as Mencap's Three Ships, which help to achieve this goal through supported internships, traineeships and apprenticeships.

This information is a guide (source: Mencap employment services)

For careers advice in all parts of the UK visit: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

Find out more

Work experience in your area
Find work experience placements with Workfinder.

Tips and advice
Help with interviews, writing a CV and all things work experience related.

Work experience can help you make informed decisions about your future career.

If you’re interested in becoming a crèche assistant but are not sure if your skill set matches up, take a look at the Wheel of Strengths from Barclays Lifeskills.

It’s a nifty interactive tool you can use to identify your skills, interests and personality. It will also suggest jobs that might suit you and identify how building other skills could open up other job roles.

Take a look - your future awaits!

Nichol: nanny
Don’t give up when times get tough
Gemma: school administrator