How to become a nanny: Nichol's story

Meet Nichol, 24, from Buckinghamshire. Find out about her job as a nanny. Part of the Bitesize world of work series.

Nichol
"It was just meant to be for money, but I fell in love with working with children."

What is your job?

I look after a family's children. It’s very different every day, which is exciting. You have the freedom to choose where you want to go each day. I've chosen not to be in a routine or sat at a desk. I'm given free reign as to where I want to go as long as it appeals to the children, which I love.

A standard day for me involves activities like helping the children get ready for school, taking them to play dates, and cooking meals.

What skills do you need in your job?

To be organised. I have a bag that I take out with me and it’s just stocked full! I also make sure I have fun things planned.

What subjects did you study at school?

I achieved 11 GCSEs A*-C. Then I moved school and studied Photography, Media, Food Technology, and Psychology. To start with, I didn't want to go to university – I thought I would stay at the nursery where I was working – but eventually I did decide to go. I studied something completely different – Media and Events – but carried on working part-time in the nursery. I never left childcare.

Was it a smooth ride?

The nursery, although I did it for five years, was not for me. I just needed a change. As soon as I got into nannying, I felt it was 100% for me. Maybe that’s why I did eventually go to university – I needed the break from the nursery. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for; whether I needed a break from childcare, or the routine. It turned out to be the routine.

Is this the job you always wanted to do?

I always found myself being drawn back to childcare. I worked at a nursery, which my godmother owned, for five years. At the time, it was just meant to be for money, but I fell in love with working with children.

Nichol preparing food in the kitchen
Nichol preparing food in the kitchen

Top tip

  • Do not automatically accept the first nannying job you are offered because it looks appealing. Bear in mind that you are in someone’s home, and you’re working with their children. You need to be sure you'll all get on well, so don’t take it if it doesn't feel like the right fit for you.

What to expect if you want to be a nanny

  • Nanny salary: £15,000 to £50,000 average per year
  • Nanny working hours: 37 to 39 hours per week
  • Typical entry requirements: You may find it easier to become a nanny if you have a college qualification like a Level 1 Award in Introduction to Health, Social Care and Children's and Young People's Settings or a Level 2 Certificate for the Children and Young People's Workforce. Many courses include a work placement. You may be able to start work as a nanny without any qualifications, though many employers and employment agencies will prefer you to have some training in playwork or childcare. You'll need clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) to work with children and young people.

This information is a guide (sources: LMI for All, National Careers Service)

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

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