During our 130th anniversary, we’re celebrating the variety and diversity of careers that Norlanders go on to enjoy after graduating from Norland. 

While many Norlanders remain in the early years sector, the skills learned at Norland and as a nanny are transferable to many other sectors and careers. Charlotte (Set 30) discusses how she has applied the skills she gained at Norland to venture into property investment, while still giving her the flexibility to nanny in her spare time. 

“I studied at Norland when it was based solely at its York Place building in Bath. I joined in September 2006. After attending the open day, I instantly knew this was the career path for me. 

I discovered Norland quite late when choosing my university options. I was interviewed by the Principal Thirza Ashelford, who was a Norlander herself. I left the interview finding myself in a limbo. Should I wait one year in the hope of getting accepted into Norland, or head off to another university?

a female Norland nanny with two children

My career as a Norland Nanny

I then received a phone call one sunny afternoon. It was Norland and they were offering me a spot for that coming academic year. Someone had decided to defer for a year and they chose to offer me the place. I cannot describe the emotions I felt and the rush of excitement that I would be able to join Norland that September. I’m grateful everyday that I was offered the place. I have no idea where life would have taken me if I had gone off to university to study performing arts. I also made best friends for life and it’s strange to think that one twist of fate may have meant we were never in each other’s lives! 

After Norland, I headed to London for my probationary year (now known as the Newly Qualified Nanny or NQN year) where I stayed and worked for 14 years in and around south-west London as a nanny. I also did some consulting and ran parenting workshops alongside a fellow Norlander and close friend. We ran the business in the hope of having a little more flexibility and choice with our time as we were starting to find the hours of nannying quite demanding. However, we soon quickly realised we were replacing one full-time job with another! 

In 2017, my husband’s father retired and I started thinking about my own retirement. When I started nannying, it was not mandatory for employers to pay into a work pension. When you’re young and living in London for the first time, your retirement is certainly far from your thoughts! Many late night discussions and brainstorms were had about what we could do to both secure a retirement that looked how we wanted it, but also provide us with choice in our lives. Having bought our flat in Wandsworth, my husband and I knew we had a good stepping stone to help us get started in property. We swiftly got educated to make sure we were doing things the right way. Neither of us had a background in property so needed to start at the very beginning.  

a man and a female holding house keys

How my training supports me in my career in property investment

Fast forward five years and we have developed and grown a portfolio of both buy to let and houses of multiple occupancy up and down the country, from Liverpool to the Midlands and London, and we continue to grow. I am still nannying. However, I have now got myself in a position where I have a choice. I can reduce my hours, change career direction, or pursue other areas of interest. It is my choice. I have found this incredibly liberating, but this only came from taking control early on. I have seen other nannies struggle with work-life balance, especially when they came to starting their own families. Being a nanny is an incredibly rewarding job, and I have loved my various roles and where it has taken me in my life. But I didn’t want to compromise, which sometimes I found myself doing as a nanny because it’s such a personal job.

I love the variety and working with people. I love how every day is different and you never know where an investment trip may take you. I love being my own boss and in charge of my schedule. I also love meeting new people and learning new skills. It’s the perfect solution to allow me to nanny for as long as I want, but means I worry less about salary and job specifics.  

There are so many elements of my Norland training that I use in this role. Managing a busy household has given me great skills for project managing our various projects. Juggling many things at once, and making sure no balls drop, is certainly a skill of a nanny and a property investor. As a nanny, you also learn to adapt and pivot when things don’t always go to plan. Nannying is also about people and managing different personalities to get the best results. This is very similar to property. Quite often you have to juggle many different personalities as you are all heading towards the same goal. Norland gave me the stepping stones to allow me to become a property investor. 

Think outside the box, look at the bigger picture and think about what you really want in life. What is important to you? How can you shape and create something that allows you to do what you love and for it not to become a burden? Don’t feel just because you have chosen to be a nanny that the skills you have learned can’t be applied to other industries. Don’t be afraid to try and fail. Experiment with ideas and things until you find the one that clicks and works for you, whether that’s in nannying or in a completely different field.”

Norland Student in Uniform standing outside gates

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