After a successful nanny career, Claire returned to Norland as a lecturer and trainer and now runs her own consultancy.
“From the age of about seven, I decided that I wanted to work with children. My parents said that if that’s what I wanted to do, I should go to the best place. As far as they were concerned that was Norland. In those days, you were interviewed following a three-day residential placement at the college. I was 13 and it was the first time I had done anything remotely like this! After being offered a provisional place, I then had to wait another four years before I could actually start.”
“The balance of placements and lectures really worked for me. I thrived in my placements and this experience gave me the drive to work hard and do well in my course. It was such an important and influential time of my life, and I made some very close friends. My best friend then is my best friend now, and we still talk on the phone at least once a day, every day!”
“After leaving Norland, my first nannying job was to look after a boy of 10 months and a three-year-old girl. I loved this job and the children so much, I stayed for four years! I am still in contact with the children and I’m sure I always will be.
“For my next job, I decided to accept a position working in a purpose-built nursery. Early on I was offered the position of managing the nursery. I jumped at this amazing opportunity, I was just 23 years old and was also working as a school governor. I didn’t think life could get much busier than this, but in the last couple of years in this position I found myself managing two nurseries – at the same time!
“The next stage in my career was to complete the full circle. In 2008, I returned to Norland, but this time as a lecturer. Even though the college had moved to Bath by then, there was still a very strong sense of familiarity and I really felt like I was ‘coming home’. That’s not to say standing in front of a sea of Norland uniforms for the first time wasn’t scary! Whilst lecturing at Norland I completed my Postgraduate Certificate in Education closely followed by a Master’s in Educational Practice – both at Bath Spa University.
“I then worked as an Early Years Consultant at Norland offering early years training and consultancy to a wide range of companies and private clients. I have trained over 1,000 Etihad cabin crew to become ‘Flying Nannies’. The Flying Nannies are specially trained to look after young children during long haul flights. I also delivered training to catering teams from Chartwells Independent about pastoral care for children aged 3-8 and 11-13. I also helped to set up Norland’s Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme for ‘Norlanders’ and in 2014, I was awarded ‘Trainer of the Year’ at the Nursery World Awards.
The work that I do with the charity Twins Trust remains very important to me. In partnership with the charity, Norland established the Family Crisis Support service whereby Norlanders volunteer their free time to families with multiples who are in a crisis situation. This is an incredibly humbling and worthwhile cause and one which I also give my time to whenever I can. I also work voluntarily for TAMBA as an Honorary Consultant.
My advice to anyone considering coming to Norland, is to embrace every opportunity it provides. So many doors have been opened for me that would not normally have been there. However, you must be prepared to work hard – and then you will see the rewards!”