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National Careers Week - Employee Spotlight Stephen


National Careers Week - Employee Spotlight Stephen

In celebration of National Careers Week, we are excited to hear from a number of our team members about their experiences of building a career in childcare. Today, we have the privilege of hearing from an inspiring individual, Stephen, on his rewarding experience of being a male in the childcare industry. Stephen is currently a Room Leader in Kindred Cambourne.

"Growing up, where much of my family worked in caring professions, I knew that this would be the path for me and I would follow suit. I remember role-playing as a child as though I was a teacher and flash forward a couple of decades I am now a Group Leader, working with and caring for children aged two to three years. It’s within these couple of decades where I’ve been able to follow and develop my passion for education, both in terms of educating myself and educating our youngest members of society.

After completing my GCSE’s I went on to study for an International Baccalaureate Diploma, an alternative to traditional A-levels. It was within my gap year between completing my diploma and starting my undergraduate degree where my journey into early years education really began. Initially, I was employed as a Nursery Practitioner, based within our pre-school. I spent several months in this position before dropping to casual hours as I moved across the UK to start my studies in Health and Wellbeing. Being able to alter contracts and work with my manager to continue working in early years during university breaks was perfect – it meant that I could focus on my studies whilst at uni and then get straight back into working when I was back home. It was also whilst working these casual hours that I was able to move across rooms and gain experience in working with all ages of children that attend the setting.

In 2020 I graduated with a First Class Honours and was re-instated as a nursery practitioner. Over the next couple of years I spent time working 1:1 with children in our pre-school – an experience that further ignited my passion for working with those living with special educational needs and disability, having been a growing passion of mine for many years before. I continued to develop my knowledge within this area, completing continual professional development learning in Autism, Cerebral Palsy, and Speech and Language Therapy as well as commencing my Level 3 qualification in Early Years Education. After some further time in our pre-school I moved to our 2-3’s room – Pioneer Place.

Now, in 2024, I’m at a place where I’m completing my Level 3 qualification and beginning my journey as a Group Leader, taking a ‘step-up’ in terms of professional progression. These have been exciting developments and serve to fan the flame of my ponder for what comes next in my early years education career."


Join me on a typical day 

6:00 – The first of three alarms go off, with another at 6:15 and 6:30
6:30 – Time to get ready & have breakfast
7:30 – Cycle to work
7:45 – Get to work, open up the nursery, and check for emails/messages left overnight
8:00 – The working day begins! The day starts by opening our doors and welcoming the children into the setting. This is such a great time to keep the connection going with other children who aren’t in my room and see how they’re getting on, such as our babies walking to their room for the first time. Breakfast runs until 8:30 and so the children come and have some breakfast or
get straight on with their learning through play. Free-flow between the indoors and outdoors ensues as well as a whole nursery morning dance session in the garden, planned activities, snack time, nappy changes, and preparing beds. As we come closer to lunchtime, the tidy-up song comes on to tidy and we settle down for some small group times ahead of washing our hands before sitting for lunch.
12:00 – After the children’s lunchtime and settling them into bed, it’s time for my own lunchtime.
13:00 – The afternoon session begins, which echoes our morning session, albeit in a somewhat reversed manner. Greeting children as they wake up, nappy changes, more learning through play and planned activities, and even more food at our tea time. As the day winds down, we return to the garden and continue some outdoor activities as the children begin heading home.
17:00 – The working day finishes and I head home.
17:30 – Arrive home to be greeted by my overly-excited golden retriever ready for her walk. After this, it’s time for me to wind down with some dinner, TV, and reading. Before bed I like to get any resources ready that I’ll be bringing in the next day to avoid that morning rush.
10:30 – Time to hit the hay!


Some final comments and top tips

  • Just do it! If you’ve been wondering about a job in early years, take the leap of faith and see what can come from it. Of course, and as with any job, there are stressful times, but the difference we can make to children’s lives is amazing. We’re in a privileged position to see those lightbulb moments and children reaching developmental milestones. I often say how amazing it is that a two-year-old can genuinely make me laugh, but it’s true – children are full of potential and you may just be the one to unlock it.
  • Keep up with reading. Policies, recommendations, and practice is continually updated so it does well to stay in the know. If you’re questioning a job in early years education, keeping up with reading, such as journals and blog posts, means you can gain an insight into what the job entails.
  • Everyone has something to offer. For me, championing diversity and inclusion is close to my heart and is embedded in my practice and this is reflected in our workforce too. Everyone has something to bring to the job, teaching children about the wonderful diversity within modern life through their own lived experiences. As a male working in early years education I hold a unique position, one that is usually only occupied by 2-3% of the national workforce. When that is put in the context of being one of two males within my setting, both being group leaders, then my position becomes even more unique.

Looking for an inspiring childcare family to progress your career with? Find out more about how to join our award-winning Kindred team here: