An interview with Norland Nanny of the Year 2020
26 November 2021
When Norland Nanny Meg (Set 37) began her Newly Qualified Nanny (NQN) year, she never imagined she’d end up moving to California with them and winning Norland Nanny of the Year 2020.
From supporting her charges when they were nearby to a terror attack to homeschooling during the coronavirus pandemic, Meg discusses how the Norland training has supported her during challenging moments and how she has no regrets in deciding to study at Norland to follow her dream of working in childcare.
“My name is Meg, and I was part of Set 37. I started at Norland after finishing sixth form at my Welsh medium school (a school that uses Welsh as the primary medium of instruction, particularly where English is not the native language of the students). I knew I wanted to study early years education and had successfully applied to several universities. Then my mum (who had known of Norland when it was based at Denford Park, Berkshire), suggested looking at studying there. I had missed the open days but, following a very helpful phone call, I was on my way to Bath. As soon as I entered the building, I knew this was the place for me.
I feel the training provided by Norland is unique. I couldn’t have gained such comprehensive and diverse experiences anywhere else. What an amazing start to my future! Now five years after beginning my first job in London, I’m still loving the career I’ve chosen.
I wouldn’t say my time at Norland went smoothly. Being ill for several months during my second year proved quite a challenge. Throughout it all I couldn’t have had more support. The lecturers, staff and my peers helped me through, and I graduated with my set (each year group at Norland is known as a set). I wouldn’t be where I am now without their dedication and help.
My favourite thing about studying at Norland were the invaluable experiences I enjoyed. The various placements I completed (including private nurseries, homes, a children’s centre and a hospital maternity ward), taught me new skills, which I was able to utilise within a range of new cultural contexts. In turn, this developed my awareness of varied ways of life and how so many families do things differently.
Outside of studying, I loved being a part of the Norland Choir and was able to play harp at some of the Norland events, which was a privilege.
My NQN year
One of the things that I appreciate most is the ongoing support Norland has provided since my graduation. I also value the Norlander online community and the wealth of experience it’s possible to gain from others who are all willing to help with any issues and provide information.
Preparing for my Newly Qualifed Nanny (NQN) employment year was slightly daunting. I was very nervous about where I should be. I hadn’t lived in a big city before but with the help of lecturers I decided that London would be the right place. I began the search and then came across the family who would become my NQN employers. Norland were very supportive and the whole process really felt tailored to our individual needs and concerns. I embarked on my job in Brixton, London and couldn’t have had a more wonderful start to my career. The family I worked for were really encouraging and gave me so much opportunity and experience to grow as a nanny. To this day, I know that my NQN family are the reason for my continued love of nannying.
During my NQN year they told me they would be moving to the United States, and they would love me to move to California with them. I can honestly say I was terrified but so excited to have this wonderful opportunity. Originally, I agreed to stay six months. Being so close to my own family and home, the idea of an extended absence was daunting to say the least. My time in California ended up being an awful lot longer than six months!
Winning Norland Nanny of the Year
Recently, I was awarded with Norland Nanny of the Year for 2020. Winning this award was a shock and an absolute honour. My NQN family nominated me, and I can genuinely say that without them I would never have been able to achieve this. My time in London brought some challenges. Witnessing a mugging with the children at my side, terror attacks and calling the police due to potential intruders in the house were some of the more unusual and stressful times we experienced and moving to California brought new challenges to my job.
The forest fires that occur annually there meant we got used to wearing face masks to protect against smoke. Packing for fire evacuations and earthquake supplies became a normal occurrence in the household and hiking in the mountains of California meant constantly keeping an eye on your surroundings for mountain lions and bears. One of Norland’s mottoes is strength in adversity and the training really helped me build my resilience to deal with situations like this.
Supporting the family with my charge’s new medical issues and homeschooling during the coronavirus pandemic have all led to my growth and confidence as a Norland Nanny. The family and my training showed me that I can accomplish things that, prior to Norland, I’d never have considered possible. I hadn’t imagined staying with my NQN family for so long but they were the right family for me. Without a doubt, Norland and my nanny families have already enabled me to enjoy some incredible experiences.
My advice for future Norland students
The advice I would give someone considering Norland is do it! I wasn’t sure of anything; yet what the training at Norland and my time with my NQN family has taught me is just go for it! You truthfully don’t know where your path could lead. When looking into a career in the early years, I couldn’t have guessed that I would ever have left the UK and spent such an amazing time working in California. The difference between my expectations on leaving school in west Wales and my reality is enormous. It has been such a wonderful, rewarding journey and continues to be so.
It’s hard to pinpoint what I love most about what I do but I cherish the joy and love working with children brings. Childcare is sometimes regarded as an easy job, but as a nanny you have a lot of responsibility looking after someone else’s children, but also so much love to give. You keep the children in your care safe and cherished, and that to me is why I do what I do. When a child in your care trusts you and relies on you it is an honour and a privilege. In my opinion, one I couldn’t get from any other career.”
As Meg discusses, nannying is a demanding job but it’s her passion for making a difference in a child’s life that makes her love nannying so much. It’s that passion for the early years that unites all Norland students, NQNs and Norlanders. Do you share Meg’s passion? Read our prospectus, sign up to our mailing list or join us for our upcoming events to see whether Norland could be your future and who knows, it could be you who is nominated by your employers for the Norland Nanny of the Year in a few years’ time…