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Would you be more likely to employ a nanny with qualifications OR experience?

(30 Posts)
taintedsnow Mon 27-Dec-10 12:34:05

A friend of mine has a lot of experience caring for babies and children, but has never obtained formal qualifications. She has a university education in another area though.

She wants to advertise for work as a nanny again (she has been working in another field for a while) as she adores children, but is worried she would not be considered by families as she has not obtained specific qualifications.

I feel that if a family would look at the fact that she has great references and experience and consider her regardless of the lack of formal qualifications, if she would pass a CRB check (which she would).

So if you were looking for a nanny, would you consider someone like my friend? I don't want to get her hopes up by telling her I definitely think she should advertise if there is no point.


blueshoes Mon 27-Dec-10 12:37:21

Why can't your friend get qualifications? It would perfect her CV.

coldtits Mon 27-Dec-10 12:39:55

I'd have experience and references over qualifications any day, but I'd prefer both.

taintedsnow Mon 27-Dec-10 12:42:51

Thanks for responses.

blueshoes, she could get qualifications, and I believe she is making inroads into doing so, but she has to work in the meantime you know? But you're right, it would be better for her.

coldtits (is that you, colditz, in a Winter disguise?!), that's what I'm thinking, both would be better, but for the right person, you would want to know they could handle your children more than you'd want to know how they can handle exam papers.

blueshoes Mon 27-Dec-10 12:47:55

It is not just the exam paper per se, but taking qualifications shows a commitment to nannying and adds a certain intellectual rigour to her role.

I don't doubt there will be employers who would value references and experience very highly (I do), but your friend will have to explain away her lack of qualifications and possibly get a lower rate.

If your friend could say she was working towards qualifications, that would be very helpful.

GoldFrakkincenseAndMyrrh Mon 27-Dec-10 12:49:06

Depends. If the experience is over a decent age range then that wouldn't worry me but 3 1 year jobs with 2 year olds when I have a baby would mean I'd plump for someone qualified because at least that tends to come with a bit of experience in different age ranges. Equally if I were looking long term I would want someone with a narrow range of experience.

But, say, 5 years experience spanning babies to school age outweighs a qualification and for an older (5+) child a university degree + sone formal experience with any age would be preferable for me.

A complete refusal to get a qualification would put me off though. It's very easy to do nowadays via distance learning and I'd be happy as an employer to support that.

So basically if the experience was in the right age range and they were willing to gain a qual I'd definitely consider experience without a qualification.

The only problem/issue with solely having experience is you don't usually have the knowledge base to draw on for example to spot developmental problems. There are some unqualified nannies who are very well read and informed but others just rely on what they've seen or heard if which isn't great IMO. With a qualification there's some guarantee of a basic level of knowledge.

GoldFrakkincenseAndMyrrh Mon 27-Dec-10 12:49:59

Gah. Long term, wouldn't want a narrow range.

taintedsnow Mon 27-Dec-10 12:56:06

Thanks for the responses, everything makes an awful lot of sense. Gold, I'm going to read your post pretty much word for word to my friend.

Bottom line is that having no qualifications would not rule her out from jobs? She has a background working with an autistic child as well, so obviously in this area, practical experience is going to be valuable isn't it?

senua Mon 27-Dec-10 12:56:47

Definitely prefer experience (but must have good references) over qualifications.
Why is that? Erm, because I don't have qualifications in childcare and I managed OK.

How do I know that your friend is serious and won't wander off to another job (she has a track record of changing tack), giving my PFB untold emotional trauma and me a recruitment headache!

nannynick Mon 27-Dec-10 13:16:43

One difficulty currently is that parents may be able to get some help with childcare costs via Childcare Vouchers. For your friend to be able to accept those, they need to meet the requirements of the scheme which includes having childcare training.

Not being qualified would not rule her out from all jobs. It will rule her our from some jobs.

Working with an autistic child may be useful, may not be. Even another autistic child could be significantly different to the one for whom she has cared. Children are all individuals and autism covers a large spectrum. Practical experience may well help but care for disabled children is often part-funded, so if the parents are lucky enough to get some funding, the funding may be on condition that the carer is registered, qualified.

Could your friend contact her local council and ask about childcare training (sometimes this is provided at county council level). They may know of evening classes being run which would give a recognised qualification - for example doing the same course as a Childminder.

Blondeshavemorefun Mon 27-Dec-10 14:11:36

as always you will get fab unqualified nannys as well as bad qualified ones

so yes to have both is ideal, and i would wonder why someone who wanted to work with children wouldnt try and get a qual

i am a career nanny and it does bug me that some people, think what the hell, im going to work with children and just get into nannying

where as i trained for 2 years and worked hard at college to obtain my NNEB qual

saying all that, your friend has something that many nannies dont have - and that is special needs experience

again if she hasnt been working with children as a nanny recently, then she may find it hard to get a job as there are many nannies with fab ref/cv/exp struggling to find work

Bink Mon 27-Dec-10 14:22:36

She should certainly do the minimum for the childcare voucher scheme - when one of our nannies did it (masses of experience, no formal nannying qualifications, degree in illustration) it was no more than a weekend's training. (Obviously there's a whole other issue there - as what she's done by way of training is patently nothing like what Blondes has done! - however our job is after-school with older children, so we are in a different kind of bracket.)

Get your friend to look up the childcare vouchers website (sorry I can't remember if it's still run by Ofsted or has been spun off to another agency) and look at what's available - it will be a very sensible basic starting point.

Sequins Mon 27-Dec-10 16:05:16

I would not expect a nanny to have childcare NVQs or a nanny school background (unless the nanny is an ex-nursery nurse and then I would expect NVQ 2) but I would want current first aid training. At interview I would also be asking questions to show evidence of having read current childcare books, such as questions about sleeping positions for babies, opinions about weaning / suitable food for babies and children.

However, if a candidate's experience has not been as what I would think of as real nannying - sole care 10 hours a day, including activities, cooking and other nursery duties and the candidate does not have childcare qualifications, I would not consider them for a nanny position, but might for a mother's help position, or maybe as an afternoon nanny/housekeeper for school-age children.

fridayschild Mon 27-Dec-10 20:36:08

When the DC were younger I wouldn't take anyone without a formal qualification. I recruited twice, and each time agencies talked me into seeing one or two great candidates with masses of experience but no qualification, and they weren't what I was looking for.

Now they are both at school I have a nanny with university level qualifications, but not nannying, and lots of experience of school aged children. She is signed up to the ofsted vouchers scheme.

I have a different focus now - nanny 2 was lovely but could not spell very well. This is irrelevant when you are helping someone learn the alphabet and count to 20. She was very good at that. And it helps when the DC can tell you whether they like a nanny and why.

noviceoftheday Tue 28-Dec-10 22:03:46

I went for long experience over qualifications as I thought she was the better candidate. My nanny has turned out to be great, but, having said that, if I was ever in the position of choosing a nanny again, I would more likely go for both experience and qualifications. E.g. I paid for nanny to go on a first aid course recently, and I thought she was just updating herself but it became clear from some loose comments that she made afterwards that it was a long time since she did a first aid course. I was quite shocked actually that she didn't have the pride to want to keep herself current.

moll7 Tue 28-Dec-10 23:49:30

Just wondered what you all think of the OU course E100 - early years developing practice as a qualification?
I am curious as although you have to have been working with children before and for the duration of the course and a permission agreement has to be signed by your employer there are no observations of you work as with the NVQ.
Does this make a difference?

Blondeshavemorefun Wed 29-Dec-10 00:54:41

Novice - did you not ask to see her first aid at her interview/once you offered the job

I would expect and hope all employers would make sure/checked/saw the paperwork that the nanny had first aid/ crb and nanny insurance as a mere basic (and quals if thats what you want) as well as excellent references that speak for theirselves BEFORE employing someone

GoldFrakkincenseAndMyrrh Wed 29-Dec-10 06:39:55

E100 is quite a theoretical and academic course which focuses a lot on reflective practice and implementing the EYFS.

It's a good course for an academically inclined person and I'd consider it excellent CPD but not a childcare qualification as such. As with anyone holding an advanced EY qualification I'd look carefully at what it involved and if necessary send them on a basic, basic course to make sure the theory was backed up with the things you need to know on a daily basis. When I did my ICP years ago I was very surprised at the number of people who had worked with children or had their own and were ignorant about basic safety/food hygiene/the importance of play. It's no use being able to evaluate 2 opposing theories on language acquisition if you don't know how to prepare a bottle safely.

It's not suitable for OFSTED registration either because it doesn't cover the common core.

moll7 Wed 29-Dec-10 12:56:41

Sorry I should have said.

I have completed the Diploma in Homebased Childcare unit 1 course and am OFSTED registered but then decided not to continue with DHC and study E100 instead.

In neither course would anyone come out and actually practical skills and wondered how important this is?

GoldFrakkincenseAndMyrrh Wed 29-Dec-10 14:19:52

Personally I'd prefer a practical component, which is why I rate some qualifications higher than others but I guess to someone who didn't know it wouldn't be evident IYSWIM.

The 'gold 'standard' qualifications have for years been the NNEB/DCE, BTEC and NVQ. Anything else needed explanation/convincing.

The new Diploma should change all that though as we'll be back to one industry-wide qualification to work in childcare in any capacity which was, I believe, the intention when the DCE was created from the NNEB qualifications and the NAMCW qualifications.

moll7 Wed 29-Dec-10 15:06:28

assess practical skills. Yes I though a course where somebody came out might be viewed higher.

noviceoftheday Wed 29-Dec-10 17:17:54

Hi Blondes! Yes I did ask and was convinced I had seen it, especially because I had asked her to become ofsted registered. I "knew" that you couldn't be registered without an up to date first aid certificate, so maybe in newborn baby haze I convinced myself that she had it. I am not sure how she managed to get the registration without it, but my point was more that when she told me some of the things that she had learned on the course, I was a little alarmed as I thought they would have been basics that she would know already. Not sure I make any more sense than in my first post hmm, but forgive me, I am not well!

Blondeshavemorefun Wed 29-Dec-10 18:40:47

makes perfect sense novice

also from what i have heard from some registered nannies is that ofsted dont always check that they have first aid/nanny insurance .... hmm

moll7 Wed 29-Dec-10 20:03:40

It might have changed but when I registered in June 2009 I had to send a copy of my first aid certificate but just tick a box to say I had insurance/common core

StarExpat Wed 29-Dec-10 20:08:58

experience and first aid training.

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