Have you ever considered becoming a childminder?

A childminder sitting with a girl

Argyll and Bute Council is running a campaign to recruit new childminders, particularly for children aged 0 to 3 years in rural areas.

Full support is available and the council’s early years team will help guide potential candidates through the whole process, from the initial enquiry, to registering with the Care Inspectorate. Financial assistance is also available for equipment such as pushchairs and stairgates, as well as small home adaptations.

Dee and Brian Pennock are a husband and wife duo from Taynuilt, who started childminding in 2008.

Dee said: “We were most surprised at the help and support that was on offer to us and we’ve made plenty of contacts within the early years team at the council, many of whom have gone on to become good, supportive friends of ours. Our home is always filled with laughter and there is never a dull moment. If ever a problem crops up and we feel that we need some advice there is always plenty to be had from so many in early years.

“During the last thirteen years we’ve lost count of the number of children that have passed through our door but we always feel a lot of pride when we hear that one of them is doing well, just graduated, secured their first job, gone on to become a midwife or doctor, engineer or electrician. There is a pride to be had in the fact that perhaps, just maybe, we may have had just a little hand in their success. We’ve both enjoyed working together at home making our living doing something that we both love doing.”

Rachael Handy from Kilcreggan has been childminding for 18 years and believes that her job has not only benefitted her, but also her two children.

“I honestly believe both my children have learned many valuable social and emotional developmental skills during my career due to the adjustments that must be made while having other children in the house,” she said.

“One of the biggest benefits in becoming a registered childcare provider is the ability to earn an income while still being able to be a full- time mum to my own children. I have been given the opportunity to train and continue my personal and professional development, ensuring I can provide a quality childcare service. I am given the option to train every year and have been extremely well supported in tailoring my learning to support the more complex needs of the children I care for.

“In all honesty, I love my job and find it extremely rewarding. I’m able to support myself and my children, along with my minded children and their families, providing support through happy and sometimes difficult situations. I have the pleasure of watching the children in my care grow and develop into happy, confident, achieving young adults and that, in my opinion, is job satisfaction.”

The Council’s Policy Lead for Education, Councillor Yvonne McNeilly, said: “Our registered childminders provide an outstanding service and are an absolute integral part of our childcare strategy. Argyll and Bute is a beautiful, yet very rural local authority, so it’s really important that we get as many people as possible to consider a career in childminding.

“Not only do childminders enable children and young people to thrive in a loving, homely environment, they are fully committed to providing an extremely high standard of childcare. Childminders play a vital role in the delivery of early education and development and we work closely with them to ensure they are supported in their work.

“Being a childminder is a fantastic, rewarding job and we’re here to help guide and support any potential new recruits through the process. I would urge anyone considering it to get in touch with us in the first instance to find out more.”

For further information about how to become a childminder and the support available, visit: https://bit.ly/AandBChildminding or call 01369 708 503.

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