Simon is currently a senior nursery manager at Tops Winchester and has been working in childcare for over 10 years.
Can you tell us a bit about your progression? Did you always want to work in childcare? Did you do an apprenticeship? Did you go to college?
I went to college and studied health and social care and one of my placements was in a Pre-School. I enjoyed working in the Pre-School and ended up staying as a volunteer. I then started working in a nursery and completed my level 3 qualification. I then went on to complete my Foundation degree and then a BA in education and training. In 2013 I was nominated for NDNA nursery practitioner of the year and was awarded the winning. I stayed at the same nursery for over 10 years and worked my way up from nursery practitioner to room manager and then Deputy for 5 years. After being Deputy I decided it was time to find a job as a nursery manager and applied for Tops Winchester. Since being at Tops Winchester I have progressed to Senior Nursery Manager. I am now working towards my level 3 in Leadership and Management with Aspire and plan to then complete my early years Teacher Status.
Have you ever experienced negativity in regards to being male in the early year’s sector?
Through the years I have received some negative feedback with regards to parents not keen on the idea of me changing their child’s nappy however I was lucky as I had a supportive manager who supported me and promoted men working in early years. Since working at Tops I haven’t received experienced any negative feedback.
What do you love the most about your job?
I love building up relationships with the children and their families. I love watching the children develop and grow during their time in the care of the nursery and celebrate their successes and know that we have helped support their learning journey.
As senior manager I love working with my team and supporting their individual developments. I enjoy going to other sites and supporting them where I can.
What has been your biggest achievement in your role?
My biggest achieved is becoming a manager, this is something I have been working towards since becoming a Deputy and also achieving my 2:1 in my BA Hons. I am also really proud that all of the tops nurseries have signed up to the MITEY charter to show they support men working in early years.
Why is it important to encourage more males to work in childcare?
I think it’s important to encourage more men into working with children as it is such a rewarding job and it’s great for children to see both genders working in a nursery setting, both genders doing the jobs so that children see from a young age that men and woman are equal. It’s also good for children to see that men can be caring and can be there to support their needs and development. Having both male and females working with children will give children different experiences.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to work in the early year’s sector?
Go for it! It is such a fun and rewarding job and the relationships you build with the children, parents and staff you work with is second to none.
Working with children is the best decision I ever made and I would never look back.
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