Have you ever thought about a career in Early Years?

The Early Years Sector is a rewarding and vitally important sector which needs high quality staff at all levels. There are many exciting career options available, whether you are looking to work full-time, part-time or on a voluntary basis, with plenty of opportunities for training and progression.

If you have enthusiasm and enjoy working with young children and want to play a key role in supporting children’s learning and development, this could be the career for you.

The Early Years and Childcare Service can provide you with information about the different roles within early years, qualifications and training pathways and where to look for the latest jobs.

Contact us for a copy of our ‘Working in early years and childcare’ booklet  which has been designed to help you to make a more informed choice about your career options so that you feel confident about what steps to take next.

For Information on jobs, qualifications and training routes visit: www.devon.gov.uk/eycs, email: natalie.elston@devon.gov.uk or phone: 01392 385398.

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Volunteering in Health

Can you spare an hour a week?

Volunteers urgently needed!

Volunteering in Health is a small local independent charity based in Teignmouth, Devon.  We rely on volunteers to support our elderly, isolated and vulnerable people in the community. We provide a very wide range of services including driving people to medical appointments, befriending, shopping, benefits advice, memory cafes, carers meetings, coffee mornings, hospital volunteering – the list goes on and on. You name it we do it to help support and improve people’s quality of life.

Volunteering in Health are calling for people to volunteer in their community, for just an hour a week. Tina Graham, Manager, said “We are desperate for people to join us in a variety of roles. An hour a week can make all the difference to someone’s life. We pay all expenses which covers the cost of running a car. Everyone has something they can give – with the range of services we provide we urgently need new volunteers especially for driving and befriending. With the winter approaching and the dark nights drawing in, many people will not see anybody from one week to the next.”

Claire joined as a volunteer and offers befriending to Edna.  She said “I moved to Teignmouth in October 2011 and, being new to the area and not in employment, I wanted to get involved in my new community.  I was introduced to Edna who I have been visiting for around 18 months for an hour or two a week which fits easily in around my work schedule and other commitments.  Edna, like many people in Teignmouth, had periods through the week where she was lonely and didn’t see anybody and I am glad to be able to make a difference in that regard. We sometimes sit and just chat and have a cuppa and a biscuit, some days we will make cards, something Edna struggles to do on her own these days”.  Edna, 93, said “I really enjoy seeing Claire and look forward to the visit every week. If she didn’t come round I wouldn’t see anyone at all.  It is difficult for me to get out and about, but with Claire`s help she makes that possible.  It’s a real treat”

Malcolm has been a volunteer driver for 3 years “My specific contribution to volunteering is driving people to medical appointments.  Mileage expenses cover my fuel costs and are a significant contribution towards running my car. The patient benefits as they have a one to one service as we often stay with patients therefore we are able to bring them straight home at the end of their appointment without any waiting around.  It is a win-win situation.  I can work the hours that suit me and use my experience of life to help others through what sometimes is a very stressful situation.”

Tina Graham added that “We can always find a way to use a willing volunteer.  We need people to help fundraise, the list goes on!  Do not be shy in coming forward.  You will be made to feel very welcome and will be very much appreciated.  Training will be given and volunteering can be a first step towards paid employment.”

If you feel you can help or want to find out more, please contact Tina Graham, Manager, on 01626 774484 or email tina.graham@nhs.net

For more information, visit www.volunteeringinhealth.co.uk.

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Direct Sales

Happy New Year!!  New Year is traditionally a time when we think about making a new start.  Many Mums start doing some Direct Sales as a way of earning a bit of extra money in a sociable role that they really love.  Direct Sales means getting a group of people together and showing and selling them your products.  It’s a way for a group of friends to have a nice evening in and do a bit of shopping from the comfort of their own home, but with the opportunity to try before they buy.  It’s perfect for Mums as it’s so flexible, you set your own hours and targets.  It’s also great for Mums as becoming a Mum has likely introduced them to a whole new social circle who are likely to be in their target market.

There are so many companies now offering these positions (Pampered Chef, Neal’s Yard Organics, Craft Superstore, Avon, Kleeneze, Usborne Books, Body Shop to name a few), you are bound to find one that sells products that you are passionate about and can enjoy selling.  You can choose to sell at evening parties at a host’s home, daytime groups (playgroups etc), a party in your own home, at events like school fetes, or door-to-door.  With most of these companies you now also get a personal website so you can do some online sales as well, and customers can buy your products again and again without coming to more parties.

….

Anita started working as an Usborne organiser in Exeter in 2012. She is a mum of two and already worked part time, but needed to find a way to boost her income. Direct Sales was a good option for her, as it had such flexible hours to fit around her part time work and children. You can even take your kids along with you when you are hosting book parties so this saves on childcare.

“I love their children’s books and also meeting other people so the work is enjoyable. It doesn’t always feel like work because parties can take the form of coffee mornings, playdates or even an evening with wine and nibbles! I think it’s a fantastic opportunity for people trying to get back into employment, especially parents with young children.”

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Caroline is Mum to Jack, 4, and works part time in Customer Services. She became a Pampered Chef consultant in October 2011. Pampered Chef sell high quality kitchenware, and during their parties consultants use the products to cook some goodies for all the guests!

“I was recruited at a Pampered Chef party hosted by a friend. It’s not something I would ever have dreamed of doing but I love it. I love the flexibility, meeting new people, my new cooking skills and newly acquired confidence.”

As well as the social aspect of hosting parties, most of these companies bring their consultants together on a monthly basis, so there are additional networking opportunities. Caroline has met many other Mums at these meetings who have also used Direct Sales as a stepping stone into work after having children:

“Having children seems to lower women’s confidence and it can take a while to build this back up. I can honestly say that the women I meet now are so confident and love what they do.”

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Nicole has two young daughters and works as a Supply Teacher.  She attended a Neal’s Yard Organics Party at a friend’s house and was so impressed with the products that she decided to become a consultant herself.

“I’d thought about different ways of supplementing my income and maybe trying out running my own business, and after investigating yoga for children franchises I decided that the cost of these was completely out of my league and the risk was too great. A friend mentioned that Neal’s Yard did something and it wasn’t expensive so I had a look. There was a special offer on for that month and signing up was half price … only £50, so a bit of a no-brainer! I knew that the company upheld what I believed in and were ethically sound. So I had nothing to lose! And I hadn’t even been to a party! It has been a great way of adding to my income … you get out what you put in. And I have a house full of products for myself and family! I consider myself to be the local ‘tester’ so when people ask me about certain products I can speak with confidence! The training is great; loads of opportunities for face to face and phone training, as well as two conferences per year and endless incentives. It can be hard work but I know that I can boost my income at certain times of year if I need to save for something.”

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Direct Sales could give you the skills and experience you need to improve your employment potential too.

Naomi trained as a Beauty Therapist at college.  She became pregnant when she was 18 so did not have the chance to gain much work experience.  After having her son, she started doing Direct Sales for The Body Shop At Home.  Through this experience she gained lots of new skills and confidence, and when a job opportunity came up with Benefit – one of her favourite cosmetics brands, she leapt at the chance.

“I love my job.  I’d never have had the confidence or experience needed to do it if I hadn’t worked for The Body Shop At Home first.”

….

Have you considered Direct Sales? Have you been to any parties like those described above? If you’d like to discuss some of the options for getting started, give us a call on 0800 043 2440.

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Merry Christmas!

Hope you had an amazing Christmas!!  It was our first in a house with lovely big fireplaces, so we were able to really get into the Father Christmas thing!!

Here in Devon, a few towns have the unusual tradition of getting locals in fancy dress to run into the sea on either Christmas or Boxing Day.  I didn’t brave it this year, but did it for the first time last year – here’s a picture!

boxingday

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Balloons

Balloons services are available to all pre and post bereaved children and young people who live in Exeter, Mid and East Devon Districts and who are aged between 3 and 18 years of age. They will have experienced the death (or are experiencing the imminent death) of someone significant in their lives.

Grieving children and young people share their experiences with volunteer Grief Support Workers as they move through their grieving and healing process. Balloons takes account of their emotional, spiritual, social and physical needs.

The children and young people attend school or college in Balloons catchment area. They are referred by education, social care or health professionals, by families or neighbours, and they can self refer. Before the first contact is made, the child or young person will be made aware of the referral, and they must be happy to be involved with Balloons.

It is evidenced that bereavement at an early age can cause many reactions in children, either at the time of the death or later in their lives. Teenage pregnancy, anti social behaviour, and failed studies can be the result of a bereavement which has not been dealt with. Positive and timely intervention will minimise this negative response.

In a pre bereavement situation, before the death of someone close, a Grief Support Worker will ensure that communication channels within a family remain open, and that all family members involved fully understand the emotional roller coaster the child or young person is experiencing. This enables the family to work together through an incredibly difficult time.

About 1,800 children and young people living in Exeter, Mid and East Devon are experiencing the death of someone close to them at any one time.

There are also other volunteering opportunities available to get involved with this fantastic charity.

One young person wrote to Balloons:

I think that Balloons helped me understand what happened and the activities we did were very helpful. I enjoyed the 6 weeks we met for and I found it very creative and enjoyable for myself. It also helped me take my mind off the situation and helped me overcome and talk about it, which I think would help me in the future. Aged 13

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Face Painting

Back in June, we had a team building day where we all learnt to face paint with Cats Whiskers from Bristol.  It was great fun (though unfortunately my boys don’t let me practice on them!) and we now offer this free service to community events.  We hope that free face painting will help to keep the kids smiling at your event, and help to promote your community group as well as promoting our services.  If you’d like us to attend one of your events, call us on 0800 043 2440.

Face Painting Face Painting Face Painting

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Voyage Fairtrade

Sam Birtwistle is a young entrepreneur from South Devon.  His business, Voyage Fairtrade, sells fair trade and ethical goods, handmade by artisans from all over the world.

What is Voyage Fairtrade?

Voyage Fairtrade sells a wide range of Fairtrade and ethically handmade goods – from ornaments to practical home items.  The huge selection of goods come from all four corners of the globe, not just from the stereotypical Fairtrade countries you may think of, helping as many local economies and artisans as possible.  This means that if you buy from Voyage you are not just buying a beautiful, practical item for you, a loved one or your home, you are helping alleviate poverty and helping countries develop: it is a win-win situation.

What are your plans for the future of Voyage Fairtrade?

I am expanding our range of products so they will be 100% unique and buying from more countries.  With the name Voyage I wish to be involved in different countries, cultures and societies.

What was your inspiration to start your own business?

I have had a number of inspirations, but my biggest was when I was 16.  I was working in my first job, in a shop at a holiday park; the park wasn’t performing very well and I thought ‘I would like to buy the business off the manager and show him how to run it properly!’

What has been your biggest hurdle so far?

My biggest hurdle so far has been marketing and getting my name out there, especially social media: I know that’s important!

What is the best thing about running your own business?

You are your own boss and it is your own life, you can do pretty much anything.  You can even have that extra hour of sleep if you need it!

What advantages and disadvantages do you think you have as a young entrepreneur?

I think my biggest strength is my motivation and determination; I haven’t made a success of this yet, but will force myself to make something out of it.  My biggest weakness is I should be a bit more organised, as that can make a world of difference!

What advice would you give to young people considering self employment?

Anyone with a good idea, drive and a strong work ethic can start a business, you don’t even need qualifications!  I have epilepsy and sometimes I have to stop work and sleep it off.  I have other disabilities too, as my balance and coordination is quite bad so it takes me longer to perform tasks for example typing on a keyboard, which isn’t that great if you want to start a business!  So if I can start a company then I’m sure you can too!

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