Norland College, a specialist provider of childcare training and education based in Bath, today celebrates the first male degree graduates in the college’s 126-year history, at its annual graduation ceremony at Bath Abbey.

Liam Willett, 21, and Harry Pratt, 21, have become the first males to complete the college’s BA (Hons) degree in Early Years Development and Learning. The degree is integrated with the unique and prestigious Norland Diploma, an additional qualification, which runs alongside the degree and for one year afterwards, enabling students to put theory into practice.

two male nannies graduating outside bath abbey wearing mortarboard and gown

During their time at Norland, students learn a range of specialist subjects, from emotion coaching to cyber security, and gain hands-on practical skills, such as skid pan driving, self-defence, and anti-terrorism training.

Norland was founded in London in 1892 by Emily Ward and has been at the forefront of childcare training ever since, giving students the opportunity to become amongst the world’s most sought-after childcare professionals.

Having completed the three-year degree, Liam Willett, who is from South East London, has returned to London and is currently employed as a Newly Qualified Nanny (NQN) for a two-year-old boy. The NQN programme is the final module of the Norland Diploma and gives students the opportunity to undertake a year of paid employment, fully supported by Norland. When students complete their NQN year, they are then able to seek employment as Norland Nannies.

Liam said: “I have always had a passion for working with children and had my sights set on Norland College when I finished school. I’m thrilled to become one of Norland’s first male degree graduates, and hope to show that gender doesn’t make a difference when it comes to childcare.

“I really enjoyed the practical side of the course, and surprised myself by looking forward to the cooking and sewing lessons each week. But I loved the unique challenges that Norland offered – if my career as a Norland Nanny doesn’t work out then skid pan driving could be for me!”

group of Norland students in uniform standing on balcony

Harry, originally from Looe, Cornwall, is currently interviewing for his dream position as a Norland Nanny in London. He commented: “I always knew I wanted to pursue a career with children but thought teaching would be my only option. When I saw the course at Norland advertised, I didn’t think boys could apply, which I later found out wasn’t the case!

“Having completed the degree, I’m now excited to have the opportunity to inspire other young men that share the same passion for early years education to consider nannying as a career choice.”

Dr Janet Rose, Principal of Norland, added: “We are playing a part in challenging gender stereotypes and showing that early years practitioners of any gender can follow a career as a nanny as long as they have a strong commitment to working with children and strive to provide the very best environment for children.

“We match our graduates with families, and we are increasingly getting requests for more males which suggests attitudes are changing to this kind of profession. Over the next few years, we hope to see more young men consider a degree at Norland and follow in the footsteps of Liam and Harry.”

Following their time at Norland, Liam and Harry are set on forging a career for themselves in early years education, and both are interested in returning to Norland in the future in a teaching role.

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