Category Archives: childcare

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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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.

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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.”

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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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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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Super Mums Club Launch Event

On Monday, we will be offering free face painting, and giving out free copies of our magazine at this event, see you there!

SUPER MUMS CLUB OPENING EVENT MON 2nd DEC 10-12PM at the COURTENAY CENTRE, NEWTON ABBOT

SUPER MUMS CLUB is a place especially for busy MUMS to get pampered, take a workshop or class, get information from local services and advice on things such as parenting & work options. Mums can try & buy local products, or just relax with a cuppa while your under 5’s play with Pandamonium, our cheeky panda mascot in the play areas! We have some childcare time available for you so you can have a little time to yourself to indulge in a mini treatment, enjoy an activity or watch some demonstrations! Come and join us at the new mums playground! Our Mission is to help mums with small children access all the things that mums may need & enjoy. To give mums a little bit of ME time and to motivate, inspire or just relax them, while at the same time helping promote local small businesses, especially those owned by mums too.
We will be opening Super Mums Club in Newton Abbot, Torbay & Exeter in January. For information about what’s on offer at our OPENING EVENT  see our Facebook page. It’s all for you! So come along for a taster of what we will have for you in the new year!
If you have a business that would benefit our Super Mums please get in touch.
£5 per family. Includes a drink & 2 hours Mums & baby/toddlers play. Access to mini treatments/workshops & activities. Discounted shopping & services. Half an hour crèche space for first child. Or 1 hour with a paid workshop/activity. Additional crèche spaces available at £1 extra per child.

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Fancy doing some volunteering?

Voluntary work is a great way to learn new skills, make friends, and build your confidence, as well as adding to your CV and giving you a recent reference.  If you’re considering a career change, it can be a perfect way to try out a new role and show potential employers how dedicated you are to the new career.

There are lots of fantastic opportunities to get involved with volunteering.  The Do-it website is a great place to start.  If you’re already involved with a local organisation that you’d like to support, then you could ask them directly about volunteering opportunities.  Pre-schools, playgroups, schools, and Children’s Centres often need all kinds of volunteers, from receptionists, to gardeners, as well as roles that are more involved, such as playwork or breastfeeding peer support.  Most charitable organisations will be looking for people to help out with fundraising – from selling raffle tickets, to events organisation.

Here are some organisations that we have identified that offer voluntary positions that we think will be of interest to Mums in particular:

Home Start is a national charity, supporting families that are finding it difficult to cope.

Balloons is an Exeter based charity, supporting children who are dealing with bereavement

Real Nappy Advisors help new Mums get to grips with reusable nappies.  In many areas this involves providing a trial kit for a month and supporting the parents in using the nappies and deciding on the best options for them.  This goes well alongside a real nappy retail business, as the family is then offered a discount voucher if they buy from you (refunded to you by the local council).  Read blog posts from local nappy brand, Eccobots, and retailer, The Natural Nursery.

Breastfeeding Peer Supporters help new Mums deal with the many issues they can face with breastfeeding.  They can volunteer within Children’s Centre groups, and in hospital maternity wards in some areas.  Training is usually undertaken through the local Children’s Centre, and locally has been done through Healthy Babies UK.

Have you done any voluntary work?  What sort of voluntary work would you consider doing?

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Face Painting

In June, the Opportunity Plus South West team all got together to do a Face Painting course with Cats Whiskers from Bristol.  We had so much fun turning each other into tigers and pirates and butterflies!  But this was more than a team building day.  Part of our lottery funding is for us to support local community groups.  We thought that offering free face painting at community events would be a great way to get people involved and to help with fundraising.

On the 7th August, Chloe went along to the Mary Rose Community Centre in Buckland, Newton Abbot.  They were holding a celebration event for the Breastfeeding Peer Supporters who have recently completed their training with Healthy Babies UK to volunteer and help new Mums get to grips with breastfeeding.  This was also part of World Breastfeeding Week 2013.

Chloe painted the faces of around 10 of the older children, and it was really popular – some children came back more than once to be turned into something different!!

Do your children like having their faces painted?  What’s their favourite character to be painted as?  So far we have found Spiderman and Butterflies to be the most popular designs.

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Summer holidays!

The summer holidays are here!  A while ago a friend asked me to suggest some activities she could do with the children she was childminding.  The activities needed to be low cost and with minimal resources needed.  I hope that these give you some new ideas to do with the kids over the next few weeks!
origami/paper aeroplanes
consequences (with a picture of a monster or a story – we do this at baby showers and it’s brilliant)
den building
acting out a book (we do we’re going on a bear hunt a lot)
paper mache
painting – potato prints
write a story
write a letter
write and put on a play
make sock puppets
make monsters out of egg cartons, toilet rolls etc
cooking (pizza, biscuits, cupcakes)
home made playdough
face painting
make a road map by drawing on a big piece of paper or fabric paints on an old sheet
make tissue paper pom poms
make cushions out of old tshirts
kite making
make bunting
make door signs (their names, “keep out”, “no girls allowed” etc)
make candles in teacups
make a robot from cardboard boxes
tie dye
grow plants – beansprouts in a jam jar
make smoothies
decorate pebbles
make superhero capes and masks – write/draw/act out a comic
make a bird feeder

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