My NQN year diary: employment weeks
26 July 2021
After completing the three-year BA (Hons) Early Years Development and Learning degree, students embark on the final module of the Norland diploma – the Newly Qualified Nanny (NQN) year.
In this 12-month paid position found by Norland, NQNs gain confidence and experience in the workplace for the first time as a probationary nanny while being supported by their employer and the dedicated NQN team. Successful completion of the NQN year results in the award of the prestigious Norland diploma and badge, the professional title ‘Norland Nanny’ or ‘Norlander’, access to the dedicated Norland recruitment agency, the pick of nanny jobs, and the lifelong support of Norland.
Throughout Set 42’s NQN year, two students will be providing diary entries to give you an insight into this unique aspect of the Norland integrated early years degree and diploma course as you follow them on their journey to becoming a fully qualified Norland Nanny. In this blog, we’re introducing you to them as they discuss their employment weeks sessions, their key takeaways and their thoughts ahead of starting their NQN year.
Hello, my name is Victoria, and I’m in Set 42 at Norland. I’m originally from Cornwall where I spent my childhood outside and enjoying the beautiful surroundings, which is where I think my love of the outdoors and exercise has come from! Before coming to Norland, I volunteered at a local nursery every Monday morning and worked for a charity who supported young and disadvantaged mums and their children. Compared to many, I had less experience when I started at Norland but, after many placements and part-time work, I can now say I’ve gained invaluable experience. I must admit I’m rather nervous about starting my NQN year. My time at Norland has been amazing and I don’t want it to end. I’m also nervous that I won’t find the right family for me but I’ve been assured by many that there will be the perfect family out there. Having said that, I’m incredibly excited at the prospect of working full-time and being able to build relationships with a family and young children over the year and help to shape their lives.
Our employment weeks have been busy and exciting. We’ve had sessions on aquatic safety, security, safeguarding, using an Aga, brain development, living with families, handling divorce, forest experience, London orientation and much more. Two highlights for me have been the forest experience and London orientation. The forest experience was so much fun, particularly playing on the rope swing and learning how to build dens and make fires. As a Cornish girl, navigating my way around London in my uniform terrified me (I’m pretty inexperienced on the underground) but it was one of my favourite days at Norland to date. I spent the day with some of my closest friends learning how to use the tube and trying not to get lost. With a lot of jobs being in London, I found this experience so helpful as now if I were to take a job in London I would feel more confident in getting around.
So far my three biggest takeaways from the sessions I’ve had are:
- the knowledge I’ve gained on navigating the underground in London
- preparation is key
- organisation is critical for a more manageable NQN year.
Hi, my name is Becky and I’m a third-year student in Set 42 soon to embark on my NQN year. I’m originally from Salisbury and before coming to Norland I studied my Level 3 in Children’s Learning and Development at college. Through one of my college placements, I was offered a job working in a nursery toddler room. I worked in the nursery for around a year and then went off to do a bit of travelling. I loved the experience of travelling around Australia so much that I decided to stay and look for jobs. This is when I was offered a job as an au pair with two fun-loving and enthusiastic charges. On my return to the UK, I was employed by some more nurseries with children ranging from newborns to four-years old and eventually accepted the opportunity as a baby room leader. After all this exciting and rewarding work with children, I was offered my place at Norland and my journey began.
I’ve really enjoyed the eight weeks of fun that are employment weeks, which every Norland student waits for and there was certainly a positive buzz around us all. The skills and knowledge Norland has provided us with have been amazing, and employment weeks provides that extra finesse to equip us for the world of nannying and supplies us with the skills that places Norland Nannies in such demand. I feel excited and more than ready for my NQN journey to begin.
We’ve attended so many sessions, from aquatic safety to interview techniques. In our second week, we had a session from a cyber security company on keeping ourselves and our charges safe both from the virtual and real world. We learned a range of new knowledge, tips and hints that I wouldn’t have normally thought about or considered, but now on my list is a bunch of new gadgets to keep my cyber life safe and ‘unhackable’ as well as the best things to know regarding safe passwords and secure social media. As well as this, we were taught the most valuable techniques in how to present ourselves and to keep ourselves safe in the best possible way, how to be prepared when travelling abroad as well as how to protect ourselves so something doesn’t happen in the first place! We were provided with scenarios and the best possible way to act in these scenarios; an example of this is to simply refrain from posting updates on social media and instead of posting what you’re up to at that current time and letting the whole of your feed know that your house is empty and it will be hours until your home, to wait and post the next day to keep yourself and your belongings safe..
Norland has always expressed to us how important it is to keep our social media private, secure and with the least amount of personal information in order to keep ourselves safe and protected. This visit from Praetorian just highlighted the importance of this, as with being Norland ambassadors and following the Norland Code of Professional Responsibilities, we should do everything in our power to keep all information confidential regarding children and families. A significant proportion of our work regarding children’s learning will be conducted through a virtual device, so the importance of keeping this encrypted and safe is paramount. It also builds onto our ability to keep the children safe in real life situations and to not make ourselves an easy ‘victim’. This training at Norland is what makes us so prestigious and wanted as nannies, as it’s an added attribute for the safety of the children in our care.
During the first few weeks of employment weeks, the highlights for me have been all the practical sessions. I’ve loved self-defence, the forest experience and baby massage. It’s equipped me with skills that go above and beyond the average nanny and I’ve just loved being able to get up and use all the knowledge to real life practice and being confident and capable to do so. I thoroughly enjoyed the forest experience particularly, it made me so excited to get out and go and use all these skills I’ve learned to be the best and most fun nanny I can possibly be!
My three biggest takeaways are:
- The eye-opening knowledge of the expectations and abilities of being a Norland Nanny. From having experience as an au pair, the realisation of the difference of the duties and standard of care is a vast and noticeable distinction and the education and knowledge Norland has provided me with has made me realise the capability of my ability as a childcare practitioner to an incredibility high standard.
- Keeping children safe extends to much more than not leaving them alone in the bath. We’ve had numerous sessions of extensive safety training of self-defence and water safety which has highlighted the need to be on alert always so your charges are always safe and not in any danger.
- Looking after children is fun! I’ve always known this and I wouldn’t be in this profession if I didn’t believe this but through all the sessions of forest school and baby massage has allowed me to believe this even more, and there is so much fun to have with children and so much to do, and I truly believe as hardworking and demanding caring for children is, it’s one of the most enjoyable and rewarding jobs that exists.
Photos from Becky and Victoria's employment weeks
Be sure to keep an eye on our social media channels and our blog for regular updates from Becky and Victoria during their NQN year!