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I'm 18 and I'm struggling to find work as a nanny/junior nanny - is there anything I can do?

(30 Posts)
nwando123 Tue 05-Apr-16 03:57:54

Hi there,

I'm in a bit of a sticky situation. I've recently become estranged from my parents because of an extremely toxic home environment and now I've decided to take a few years out before I go to university, just to find my feet a bit. Now, I'm looking for work either as a mother's help/junior nanny in London. It can be live-in or live-out. I'm 18 and I'm working towards my childcare qualifications and first aid certificates but I'm really finding it tough. I think this is mostly to do with my age? I don't know what to do - I love children a lot and would perhaps like to go into teaching, but I am very passionate about this, and I have some experience working with young children over the summer, but I seem to be having no luck! I've spent hours on end on agencies and sending my CV out and one mother said I sounded 'really great' but she wanted someone older. I am really struggling a bit now and I can understand why parents would want someone older. I don't necessarily want to be an au-pair but if nothing else works out I am willing to consider it. Is there anything I'm doing wrong, or should be doing differently? Does anybody have any tips or know anyone who would be willing to help? Thank you

PS I know lots of parents want nannies who can drive - I can't for a health reason which seems to be a disadvantages. Also one agency have interviewed me but are struggling to find work because of my age.

DessertOrDesert Tue 05-Apr-16 04:47:13

Your not qualified either, which I doubt helps. I would take on a not quite qualified, but loads of experience, or young, limited experience and working towards qualification, but not limited qualifications and limited experience.
Is London essential, or could you open up the area a bit?
How long til your qualified?
Good on you for taking control of your life, and I hope it works out for you.

nwando123 Tue 05-Apr-16 05:04:31

Thank you so much for replying. I'll be qualified by June and I'm looking to start as soon after then. So by then I'd be young, limited experience but qualified? I'm willing to look at other cities too - maybe Bath, Bristol or Manchester..

lamingtonnutty Tue 05-Apr-16 05:15:40

Have you looked at Au Pairing?

nwando123 Tue 05-Apr-16 05:19:53

I have, but I a) don't really want to leave the UK and b) I understand I'm not going to be paid a lot but I don't have parental support and want to be as financially independent as I can be. I don't know if that makes much sense? But I could do it if nothing else worked or it was the right thing to do for now...

lamingtonnutty Tue 05-Apr-16 05:24:13

I'm English and did Au Pair work in London just to get out of my hometown. Was financially independent, as didn't have the crippling rent costs and travel expenses. I would recommend this, my situation was much like yours. I didn't have a lot of experience etc but just needed a stepping stone to start off with.

Bin85 Tue 05-Apr-16 05:36:55

Make sure Facebook etc only contains photos and comments that would appeal to a prospective employer .

nwando123 Tue 05-Apr-16 05:40:18

Bin85 - I'm not huge on social media anyway but thanks for that! I have a twister that is open but I hardly put anything up there that I wouldn't say to my grandma IRL!

Lamingtonnutty - thank you - I will consider it more now x

madwomanbackintheattic Tue 05-Apr-16 06:10:30

To be honest, I want a nanny to be at least as qualified as I am, if not more so... I look for childcare qualifications, standard first aid, and a driving license. The driving license may be because we live places where we need to travel to get to the nursery, park, town, Doctor, hospital etc. But I think I would be alarmed and need to ask more questions if there were a medical reason for not driving? (For example - if you can't drive because of epilepsy, how would that affect your ability to take care of the children?) I'm not asking - just that if I were employing you to look after my children, and I have the choice between someone who can drive, and someone who can't, I will always go for the one who can...

I will always also go for experience - it doesn't have to be nanny experience, but nursery experience is a good substitute. I'm not sure what 'a bit of childcare experience in the summer' means - working in a nursery? A playscheme? Some babysitting for friends?

I think you will have more luck once you are childcare and first aid qualified, but I would also consider getting a year or two in a nursery environment before nannying I think. Unless you have extensive placements with your course that are willing to provide childcare references - in which case you might get lucky.

Are you doing some volunteering in the interim? Anything with kids would be great, but it would be a useful string to your bow if you could get some experience with kids with additional needs. Things like that will make you stand out as someone who is taking their career seriously.

Good luck!

ChalkHearts Tue 05-Apr-16 06:13:47

Make sure your CV is perfect. Ie no spelling, punctuation or grammar errors. That will make you stand out against people who are applying to jobs via gumtree.

Wtite an appropriate but chatty cover letter with your CV. Let them get a feel for you before they even read your CV.

Search on gumtree and make yourself a profile on

If you get an interview dress appropriate, shake their hand, make eye contact - but most importantly play with the child.

ChalkHearts Tue 05-Apr-16 06:15:21

Sorry, I meant

hibbleddible Tue 05-Apr-16 06:38:09

If you have limited experience it is probably worth working in a nursery to build up experience. You can also use the time to complete your qualifications. You will then be in a much better position to apply for jobs later.

Yerazig Tue 05-Apr-16 06:52:18

When I first started in childcare I worked 3 years in nurserys and now have been nannying for the past 8years. My first nanny job was an after school nannyjob. I would personally gain a few years in a nursery to build up some experience. Then I usually suggest look at after school nannying. Most families struggle to find an after school nanny as most nannies don't want to work just a few hours a day. So most parents as long as you can sit and do some homework play a little and warm up some dinner, are usually not as particular with employing a qualified/experienced nanny as someone who's looking for a nanny to look after their child10+hrs a day.

Cindy34 Tue 05-Apr-16 07:05:04

Why a city? Be flexible on location. Some places may be an hour or so train ride from a city.

What can you do now to get some experience, be that evening babysitting, helping at a youth group, helping at a creche, part time work at a nursery/pre-school.

You are doing training now, does that course include practical placements? Get references from those placements.

It is a very tough market at the moment, be as flexible as possible.

Cindy34 Tue 05-Apr-16 07:17:12

Not driving will seriously restrict the jobs for which you can apply.

Group care does not pay that well and would be live-out, so you would need somewhere to live but not driving would be less of an issue though you would need to be able to get to/from work.

JennyOnAPlate Tue 05-Apr-16 07:18:04

I'm sorry about your family situation op, that sounds really tough thanks

To be completely honest your age wouldn't bother me, but I wouldn't hire a nanny who wasn't fully qualified and didn't have a first aid certificate.

Are there any nurseries/playgroups locally recruiting? Or schools recruiting for holiday clubs/after school club?

Undercooked Tue 05-Apr-16 07:24:16

Au pair world has English nannies looking for English jobs. To be honest it might be more cost effective in London. As a live out inexperienced nanny you might get £8-9 an hour then pay extortionate London rent, council tax, utilities, transport, food etc. As an au pair you would get all those expenses paid and about £95 in your pocket plus lots of spare time to offer a few paid hours to other families to boost your finances and experience.

SquirmOfEels Tue 05-Apr-16 08:08:52

Not driving would be OK in London, and perhaps OK in other cities.

You do need a first aid qualification, and working in a nursery for a while is likely to help build your experience.

It is hard, starting out in many fields, when prospective employers are looking for either experience or qualifications and ideally both when you have neither. But it is a case of getting the first job or jobs and then it will all work.

Another thing to try is being a summer holiday nanny (for slightly older children).

Karoleann Tue 05-Apr-16 09:00:40

An au pair position like this might work: . Its sole care, so you'll get the experience you need, she only wants a 6 month commitment, so you'll be able to move on quickly and you have another couple of days off in the week where you could find other work?

There are quite a few roles like this on gum tree - some are really taking the p***, but others are more like junior nanny roles.

RattieOfCatan Tue 05-Apr-16 11:40:32

I'd recommend an au pair position in the UK too, it was my step into nannying and I took one that had a a bit more responsibility which helped.

RattieOfCatan Tue 05-Apr-16 11:46:03

Sorry, posted too soon. I should add that I was studying whilst I did it, I volunteered in a nursery two days a week whilst my charges were at school and one day a week at the school the younger child was in.

Get a 12hr paediatric first aid ASAP. Look into doing voluntary work related to children: so scouts/guides. I got my first position because I had been an activity instructor for 6 months. I had spent my teens doing a lot of babysitting, helping out at kids groups, volunteering in a nursery on my day off form college, etc too.

Don't just look at cities, the place I got my first job was a beautiful town in the country, an hour from London, an hour by bus from Swindon, Cheltenham and not far from Bath too. I had access to a car but couldn't drive unfortunately! I was paid more than I would have been in a city job too.

MaybeDoctor Tue 05-Apr-16 13:39:20

I was in your position of having limited support and a controlling parent at 18. I was desperate to be independent and, after my A levels, went for a number of interviews with the idea of getting a job, leaving home and being self sufficient. I was applying for administrative jobs and some 18+ training scheme positions with large employers.

Every interviewer looked at my CV, looked at my grades (Oxbridge level) and scratched their head. It seemed that they 'could not compute' that a young person with my grades and background would not be heading off for university. More than one frankly told me that I would be better off going to university.

I suspect that, along with concerns about your age, prospective employers are probably scratching their head about you too.

In the end, I stayed home a bit longer (though that was hard), started a university course while living at home and eventually moved out part way through my degree. It was hard and I did envy the free choice and parental support the vast majority of my friends enjoyed. My father did eventually give me some limited financial support but I struggled financially - lived quite hand-to-mouth and a lot of time spent working.

However, I was so relieved to finally be independent that it stopped me from researching the ways in which I could have received more funding support. In retrospect, I should have been accessing student welfare services, access funds and other sources of support. There are discretionary pots of money available and I would have been as good a candidate as the next person.

I studied, graduated and have never looked back.

My honest advice to you is to apply and go to university as soon as you can. Fees and expenses are on an upward trajectory - £9,000 is not going to be the limit forever. See the latest government green paper on higher education.

Once you have a university place, your best bet is to then find an au-pair type role (accommodation for limited childcare and pocket money) in the local area. They do exist, particularly for people who might have school age children. Most importantly, ask for financial support and advice from the university, the students' union, the NUS, charitable trusts and anyone you can think of. Your family situation should not prevent you from getting the education you deserve.

Best wishes.

wizzywig Tue 05-Apr-16 13:42:46

Id be happy to have a childcare unqualified but generally well educated nanny. Ive got kids with sen so dont really have my pick of nannys. Im in bedfordshire if you want to pm me

WellTidy Tue 05-Apr-16 18:36:45

Interestingly, like the PP, I also have a child with sen, and I don't therefore get my pick of nannies. I am wondering whether this is an area you would be willing to consider. The pay tends to be better, as it is understood that the demands can be higher. SNAP is a good agency for childcare, helpers, therapist etc for children with SN and SEN.

That said, I would need someone who could drive, to get my DC to pre school and school.

Good luck. You sound great.

Blondeshavemorefun Wed 06-Apr-16 13:18:57

The fact you are unqualified 18 and can't drive and lack of exp will put many people off

Would you do a mothers help role - so not sole charge - but you will gain experience and a ref while you wait till qualified - which will then help for next job

Can you never drive? If so then look for jobs in towns with good rails /bus travel

How about a nursery to gain Exp plus don't to drive

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