“Norland is an investment in yourself.” – Matthew’s story
Matthew is a mature student, arriving at Norland in September 2019 as part of Set 43 having worked in various early years and childcare settings since the age of 16. It was flicking through his partner’s Norland prospectus that opened his eyes to the opportunities that studying Norland’s award-winning degree and diploma integrated course offers its graduates.
In his My Norland Story, Matthew discusses the various settings he worked in prior to Norland, ranging from babysitting in his local area to working at a creche in the Alps and student life, as well as some words of wisdom to those considering studying at Norland.
“My name is Matthew and I’m a third-year Norland student. I am 27 years old. I spent my childhood growing up in Brussels in Belgium and I’ve been working in childcare since I was 16. My entire working life has been focused on working with children. I have had many jobs in childcare and have enjoyed every one of them.
Working in the early years and childcare in general is something so intrinsically a part of me that I could not tell you what it is. It’s something I’ve always done and something I see myself always doing.
I started out working as a babysitter, which evolved into full-time nannying. I then moved to working for an outdoor activity company at residential centres around the UK. I started to become interested in winter sports and this took me to the wintery peaks of the French Alps. Working in partnership with Belgian schools, I helped run their winter ski trips. I ended up in Switzerland where I was hired as a maintenance and ski lift operator, but I found myself becoming involved with the children’s ski club where I supported the practitioners with English-speaking guests.
When I became a nanny in Greece, I really started to gain more early years’ experience, developing a strong work ethic and being selected as a one-to-one nanny. When a guest required full-time support during their holiday, I was on hand to provide it. My time in Greece fortified my desire to pursue a career in childcare. In between seasons, I worked with schools and families in Brussels to provide after-school care and pick-ups and drop-offs.
I then arrived in France, once again, to work for another holiday company providing a full-time crèche for guests. My partner had been given a Norland prospectus by her mum and I found myself reading and re-reading it. Among the pages, there were photos of a male student. This fascinated me and over many hours of discussion with my partner and colleagues, I became more interested. I found myself having a ‘you’ve got nothing to lose’ moment. This rapidly followed an afternoon off-piste, as I sat at the reception desk of the chalet typing my application. Without doubt, a pivotal moment in my life.
“Norlanders carry a never-ending passion for caring and supporting children and families. Being given the chance to add my name to theirs in the Norland black book fills me with pride and excitement to continue building upon the great reputation Norland has upheld.”
The academic teaching at Norland has been of a high standard, and I’ve genuinely enjoyed working through the degree and diploma modules. It has been hard work personally and definitely needs to be taken seriously. Both the cooking and sewing lectures have been great fun. I’ve surprised myself with how much I’ve enjoyed sewing. The self-defence classes and the practical masterclasses have been very good and a nice addition to my overall training. Overall, the academic side and the placements have been the stand-out highlights for me.
I would argue that Norland provides just as much as a traditional university. Norland partners with Bath Spa University to give students access to its unions and societies, so students don’t miss out there. Norland also offers lots of student-led societies and a very tight-knit student body that cares for one another. There are plenty of social events, so you won’t be missing out on that side of things. You’ll find your week packed with lots to do when you are a Norland student, but with good time management you’ll have your weekends free.
Nannying will play a large part of my working life for the foreseeable future. I feel even if I was to make a drastic change in career role, the work ethic and fundamental ethos of Norland will always be with me. However, personally, I cannot see myself moving away from childcare.
So far, my Norland experience has left me with no doubts that my investment has been a sound one. As a mature student, I find student finance support ample and support myself with paid work during term times. There is plenty of work for Norland students in and around Bath. Norland is an investment in yourself.
Norland is absolutely focused on the early years. It’s steeped in tradition and its strong reputation is built on 130 years of dedication by thousands of Norlanders. Norlanders carry a never-ending passion for caring and supporting children and families. Being given the chance to add my name to theirs in the Norland black book fills me with pride and excitement to continue building upon the great reputation Norland has upheld.
I recommend Norland to individuals who are serious about working in the early years and want to bolster themselves with a focused degree and the practical diploma training that comes with it. Theory and practical experience are wrapped together in a very intense three-year course. That may sound daunting, but I have found every step of the education fulfilling.
To anyone considering Norland, be sure that this is what you want to do. Working with young children can be so very rewarding but you need to want to do it. Sign up to an open day, chat to current students, read up about Norland. Be certain. I have absolutely no regrets and I’m very excited to move forward as a Norlander.”