More than 8,000 businesses in the UK provide jobs for about 120,000 people in the childcare sector. The field generates about £3 billion in annual revenue. Though many in the industry are self-employed and work from home, Child Care recruitment agencies are always seeking to fill positions in special needs care, and there is a regular demand for nursery nurses and their assistants.
For many positions in the sector, especially entry-level roles, there are no mandatory qualifications or requirements. Ideal candidates for employment, however, need to be patient, warm, enthusiastic, and eager to learn. On the other hand, child-minders hoping to open an in-home nursery will need a Level 3 NVQ in Childcare or a CACHE diploma. Self-employed childcare professions are also required by law to attain certificates in food hygiene, paediatric first aid, and to register with NNEB or Ofsted.
Although many men do work in the field, childcare professionals are predominantly female, and most are mothers. A high percentage of positions involve long hours and relatively low pay, but average salaries tend to vary widely by region. At present, Cheshire County is one of the highest paying regions in the UK.