Appreciating our own and each other’s transferable skills is something we should all do more of. Let me tell you why I think that. First, it helps us to value the things we do every day and increases our job-satisfaction. This can be helpful for staying in a role, developing a role or job, or securing a new and challenging position. It supports us to think about how we are growing and developing, and how we can build our careers for the long-term or create new roles – grasping opportunities rather than considering ourselves to be insufficiently experienced or skilled.
It’s important to say this article is not about supporting anyone in early years to leave the sector. The reverse is true. Indeed, far too many people, in my view, are leaving because they do not see a secure and fruitful future in their early years roles. Whether they be blocked by leaders and managers who seem unchangeable and unmovable, or if terms and conditions are not enough. Early years has changed enormously in recent years, and I cannot see this trend stopping anytime soon. There are practical challenges, I know there are, I am a realist. But there are cognitive barriers as well. So, let’s work together and break all of them.
We can do this by identifying, celebrating and promoting the amazing skills we develop in early years and childcare. We all need to do this, because many of those around us are not doing it on our behalf. When we all get this right, then the rewards are more likely to follow. It will help us to connect in better ways with other professionals, it will help us grow new, exciting and sustainable roles in the sector, and it will empower through greater confidence.
What other jobs can you think of that:
- Deliver a national early years curriculum (EYFS) under the scrutiny of Ofsted
- Deliver a wide-range of ground-breaking and challenging government policies and strategies e.g. tackling disadvantage, social mobility, 30 hours and two-year-old funding
- Identify children’s needs early and coordinate packages of early intervention support
- Ensure child protection and safeguarding, and manage health and safety and other legal duties
- Inclusively engage with children, parents and families
- Develop and design information and marketing strategies
- Lead staff teams of different levels, including apprentices
- Support continuous professional development, training, and staff development
- Juggle multiple tasks in a high-pressure environment
- Work with partnership organisations, agencies, and local authorities
- Manage complex financial arrangements and contracts, accounts, funding and income generation
- Lead and manage organisational change
That is an amazing list. I cannot think of many comparative roles. But I wonder, how many of us describe early years and childcare jobs in these terms? My argument is we should. We all should. And those who ask us to deliver, need to value what we can do. And for that to happen, we need to tell them this is what we do in clearer and more precise and understandable ways. The best way for that to work, is for us all to recognise all promote our transferable skills. Now, all I ask is you go and update and rewrite your CV. Then tell everyone how amazing you are. Feel that confidence growing. That way, the change and growth we all want will have a greater chance of happening.
A version of this blog was first published in Teach Early Years Magazine.