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Unqualified Childcare Workers


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Hi there, hope everyone is well and had a lovely spring break.

 

I'm currently doing my level 3 and loving it. I find it so useful, learning about everything and then applying it to my practice.

I work in a fairly small setting where the majority of our staff are unqualified, but are currently undertaking some form of formal training, whether NVQ or DPP. But we also have a few staff members who have told us very clearly they simply have no intention of doing any formal training what so ever. At first it was a "I'm not really able to fit it all in around home-life etc" kind of thing, but now it's a "I don't want to do any, I feel confident enough without it". I thought the first reason was fair enough, I mean I find it hard enough to fit all my college work in, and I don't have any children or anything to worry about. I can't imagine how hard it must be for parents to do a qualification and still keep up with all their daily comings and goings. But I feel the second reason isn't acceptable? How do you feel about this?

 

I think I'm very lucky that I am motivated to learn in order to do my job better, but it comes across to me that these staff don't want to learn about what they're doing and see it as "just playing" when it's isn't!

At our last staff meeting, we had a discussion about having a change of job titles. In our setting we have Nursery Assisstants, Deputy Supervisor, Supervisor and then the Manager/Owner. But I feel the word "Assistant" isn't appropriate for what we do. In other settings in our area, Nursery assistants are the people who prepare the food, mop the floors, tidy away etc. And we do a lot more than that.

We are key carers, we do observations and evaluate them and produce a plan of action where necessary, we do planning for our key children etc etc. Although I too do the mopping of the floor and changing the nappies. But I feel I am not just an assistant.... Sorry I've gone off a bit. The point I was getting to, was that during the conversation one of the ladies who doesn't want to do any training suddenly says "I don't see what you're making such a fuss about? All you do is play with children and right down what they do then stick it in a folder"

 

Sorry I think I lost my point amognst my ranting! So sorry.

Basically, I'm feeling fed up that these people think they can come into this job not willing to learn about what they're doing (you wouldn't go and work in a salon cuting hair if you didn't know how to would you?!) and think we're just babysitters really. I also think it's pretty bad that they don't do half the things they're supposed to do, but still get paid the same as the people who really try hard to fulfil their job despcription, and even more while at work.

 

Am I being stupid getting so annoyed about this?

Sorry if I've just ranted and missed something out important.

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You rant away! I can understand your point of view and obviously to some extent you can see their point of view too. Would a change of job title make you feel more valued? Is there an incremental rise in salary for those who have some sort of qualification?

I ask this because I give my staff pay rises according to additional areas of responsibility they take on, like being SENCo or in charge of H&S or Behaviour issues as it frees up some of my time and I appreciate that. I also give a pay rise when they achieve a qualification. Untrained staff (although we don't have any at the moment) would probably get only a little above NMW. If they are content with that, and with wiping bottoms, noses, paint pots and all the other paraphernalia that goes with the job without doing any training to understand 'why' then that's up to them. In fact, having staff who do only that can be useful as it 'frees' us to get on with our jobs without feeling we have to rush about like headless chickens quite so much. They are another pair of eyes in a room, which in itself is useful.

Not everyone is motivated, in whatever job. In my earlier life I did train as a hairdresser as the college had no places left for childcare students but had some for hairdressers (I know - very casual decision!) and I qualified and did the job for 7 years before I got married. And yes, there are people there who are happy just to sweep the floor and make the tea and wash hair. I'm quite sure whatever occupation you look at there are always 'floaters'.

BUT - I do get annoyed when people think we just play at our jobs and are babysitters! (probably in much the same way as air hostesses get angry at being called waitresses! :o )

Edited by Cait
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hi lluna,

 

I know where you are coming from but I have one lady who works in my setting who is unwilling to train because she feels she is too old to train. She has told me that she will leave when you need to be qualified to do our job. I just want to say that she is one of the most valued staff in our setting and her experience is invaluable. She is fantastic at settling new children and puts everyone at ease with her easy going manner. She is extremely caring and hard working and I look forward to the days when she is at work. I really don't want to lose her and have worked with very qualified people before who are far less capable than she is. mrsW.

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Hi Lluna

 

Reading from your post I am guessing that it is these peoples attitudes that are annoying you, rather than the fact that they are unqualified.

 

Like you I am in the process of completing my NVQ level 3. As a mum there are a lot of things on this course that seem more like common sense and I feel like I already knew the answers, but there are some topics e.g. theorists, observations (and also linking the two) that threw me completely. When discussing these things with my friends, they shake their heads and say that the would never be able to go to college and do something like this.

 

I wonder do these members of staff feel that they are not good enough or possibly too old to attempt these courses. When you talk about them making excuses concerning homelife and their own children, I wonder if they are my age (late 30's) and like my friends, feel that they could not attempt to go back to studying after not looking at a text book in over 20 years?? (The thought of being the only mature student in a class of teenagers did put me off a bit, only to discover that all the other students are mature students as well!)

 

As far as getting paid the same wages as others who are qualified or are in the process of obtaining a childcare qualification, I feel that this is a fault that lies with your manager as oppossed to the staff themselves.

 

Sorry if this isnt the reply you are looking for, just thought I would let you see it from a mature students point of view!!

 

Dont worry about the rant. Thats what the forum is here for!!

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I think there will become a time when 'governement' will require that ALL staff have at least level 2 qualification (if that's not in the pipeline already, sorry I'm a bit behind except to being aware that within some settings the leaders will have to be at graduate level by 2015- I think).

 

When I was an employer I became acutely aware that qualification requirements would eventually be raised and I too had some staff who were unwilling (one actually unable due to own learning difficulties) to undertake qualifications. With this in mind I started to re-write my employment policy to include a requirement to achieve specific levels of qualifications within specific timescales of initial employment date. I didn't complete this as I retired and closed my business.

The process of re-writing my employment policy was thought provoking, I as an employer acknowledged the importance and the benefits of having qualified (well trained) staff and being forward thinking understood that for some staff higher qualifications than they already had would be necessary if I was to meet government requirements. However, I also employed a very good member of staff who was not 'academic' and would not have managed a level 2 qualification, she was however an asset to the team for many aspects of the work.

 

I was not entirely sure about the legal implications of changing contracts to require staff to undergo further training.

 

Maybe have a word with your employers about how you feel, how does the company view continuous professional development within it's workforce and what is the company / owner / boss's long term vision / plan of meeting the governments qualification requirements for the future. Also ask about titles and ways to motivate / value continued professional development.

Another consideration though is the 'cost' implications in time and money to individuals and the business. This needs careful planning especially if staff leave the setting once qualified.

 

It will be interesting to read others responses.

 

Peggy

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I think that this is becoming a 'hot topic' and that Ofsted will be looking for Continued Professional Development.

 

A short answer for me! A little tired and very 'brain-dead'!!!

 

Oh - a quick edit to say.....rant away...... it's great to get things off your chest!

 

Sunnyday

Edited by sunnyday
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I'm really sorry, it's so late and my eyes are flitting all around your replies and I'm finding it so hard to read them at the moment. :o I just wanted to post and say thank you for all your replies; I will definateley be back to read them tomorrow when I've had a good nights rest.

 

Thanks again.

Lluna

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we too pay staff according to their qualification - however we also have a lady who wont do any formal qualification and like mrsw i would say she is one of the most lovely ladies -she too is the one who helps settle new children, works really hard and nothing is too much trouble for her.

could you perhaps do like we do and send her on short one day courses or courses of three or four sessions that might include a bit of homework - it might make her realise that its not as scary as she thinks.

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we too pay staff according to their qualification - however we also have a lady who wont do any formal qualification and like mrsw i would say she is one of the most lovely ladies -she too is the one who helps settle new children, works really hard and nothing is too much trouble for her.

could you perhaps do like we do and send her on short one day courses or courses of three or four sessions that might include a bit of homework - it might make her realise that its not as scary as she thinks.

 

I am going to ask our lady that sounds like a good idea, she does already do short in house courses but nothing involving 'homework'. mrsW.x

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I would also like to say that a qualification doesn't make a great member of staff,

but attitudes that you are talking about show a deeper problem than lack of qualification I think!!

They are often the staff who don't have the passion for the job that the rest of us do.

It is just a job to them, a pay packet at the end of the week.

 

I am currently supporting a member of staff with her level 3 NVQ.

I lectured on the evening course last year and persuaded this staff member that there was nothing she wasn't capable of within the training.

She loves her job, in fact it is more than a job to her, she is great with the children and yet I worried that in time maybe a change of management / qualification needs would see her unable to continue with us and she would be likely to need that bit of paper wherever she went!

 

Actually now I have got going I can't remember exactly what I wanted to say!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

I think a qualification isn't the be all and end all but with changes afoot it would be nice to offer support so that the special folk out there don't get left behind and we lose all that experience and good practice!!

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I remember feeling like this about training ...I think because you have a good attitude and are welcoming the training sometimes other members of staff will feel a little threatened by this and whether they are qualified or not you should be able to be enthusiastic and be supportive in your training.

At my setting there are staff who think I am bonkers to keep studying...they are really good at what they do and feel that a formal qualification is not needed to work in early years (even the qualified staff agree that it is all too much, the changes bieng made)...it is very frustrating as I think everyone benefits from a bit of education whoever you are......I know that some staff don't want to study and that is fine I guess but they must show willing to support others and attend courses to ensure they are up-to-date with everything.

I agree too that a qualification does not necessarily make a better member of staff but when you are spending time working really hard to fit study into a busy lifestyle it is soooo demoralising to have it shunned.

I think I have said before that I have this problem now that I don't always say what I think would be best practice because although I have trained to level 5 to be kept abreast of the changes in early years and for my professional development some staff (qqualified and unqualified) at the setting just don't want to know...that's the reality of it...it will take a miracle for some people to realise that early years education is a vital, crucial time for children and we, as practitioners can make a real difference to children's start in education...sorry I ranted I have had a bad morning, frustrating when you want to do so much at the setting and it falls on deaf ears. :o

Edited by Guest
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I must be hard but I only take on staff who are willing to qualify or are already qualified. at least to a minimum 2 level.

How do you get around the fact that they need to know the Foundation stage to be able to be a Keyworker and do assessments and observations on children?

I think the days of doing the job because it fits in with the children's school days are going to be long gone. If we have people in the job who don't see it as a career we will never be able to give any credibility to our knowledge and hope that people will take us seriously.

May be those staff members need to have a "career" change???

 

Steph

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Well there is lots of time spent explaining the paperwork and then some staff are not happy with having to document observations and records, it is a viscious circle because you spend time disseminating what you have learnt to staff and then it can be frowned upon. But for some staff they really didn't come into the job to do any sort of paperwork and resent having to do so....I think most jobs nowadays require assessments and feedback and written work - I must just add though one member of staff who is unqualified has thrown herslef into it and is genuinely inspired by the EYFS, she realises it gives her an opportunity to really think about how her key children are developing.

Edited by Guest
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could you perhaps do like we do and send her on short one day courses or courses of three or four sessions that might include a bit of homework - it might make her realise that its not as scary as she thinks.

and also make sure that any in-house training she attends/you provide is documented and a certificate of attendance is given so that you and she can document what training she is undertaking. This might be less threatening for her to do since she is amongst friends, and also has the advantage that you can target any areas of development that you and she might identify!

 

Maz

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