careers nursery worker

Nursery Worker Jobs

Nursery worker jobs… did you know?

Similar jobs: Nursery assistant, pre-school assistant, playgroup assistant, nanny, kindergarten assistant, childcare worker

Babies and children up to five years old are learning some of the biggest lessons in their life – like how to play together and share, and how to learn language and numbers through storytelling and counting games. As a nursery worker, you help them develop their body and mind in a safe and supportive environment. Now, who’s up for a game of sleeping lions?

Some key things to know:

  • You’ll be working in a nursery or similar childcare facility, either full or part-time
  • You’ll be working under supervision
  • Nurseries can stay open to fit in with the working routines of parents, so they may be open from 8am to 6pm.

Industry: Childcare and Education

Nursery worker job trends

How much money can you make as a nursery worker?

£14,000 – £24,000 (UK average)

Recent labour market information says you can earn on average between £14,000 and £24,000 a year as a nursery worker in the UK.

Your starting salary can vary because of factors like level of experience, training, or location. Your salary as a nursery worker will increase over time as you build skills, knowledge and experience.

Your salary can also vary according to the work hours involved – being a nursery worker can be a full-time or part-time position.

What entry qualifications and training do you need for this job?

School, college and training

You’ll find it handy to have a Level 2 qualification in English and maths, because you’ll be helping very young children to use words and numbers. GCSEs (or the equivalent) at grades 9-4 (A*-C) in English and maths will be very useful on your CV.

In most cases you’ll also need a Level 2 or 3 qualification in childcare or early years. You can find out more about all the approved qualifications on offer form the Department for Education (DfE).

Finally, you’ll need an enhanced background check which your employer will arrange for you. This will certify that you are safe to work with children and know how to safeguarding them from possible danger.


You can get into this job through an apprenticeship. A range of relevant apprenticeships is available throughout the UK. These include:

  • Childcare apprenticeship
  • Early years apprenticeship
  • Nursery apprenticeship

You’ll mix on-the-job training with classroom learning. You’ll be paid a salary and your training will lead to a nationally-recognised qualification.

Nursery traineeships are also available.

Career progression

With a Level 3 early years educator qualification you could progress to become a room leader, senior nursery worker or a centre manager looking after the whole nursery.

With a higher qualification in early years or child development you could get further into management or become an early years teacher.

With time and experience you could specialise in working with children with learning difficulties, physical difficulties or mental health problems.

What experience do you need for Nursery worker jobs?

Work experience

Your application for this role is more likely to be successful if you already have experience of working with children, such as youth work and playwork. As well as gaining work experience through childminding and similar roles, you could explore summer jobs where you might work with children, such as crewing at a holiday camp.

Examples of relevant work experience include:

  • Work shadowing (even if it’s just for a day)
  • Work placements in a company
  • Work placements on a degree course


Volunteering is a fantastic way to gain experience of working with children, as so many volunteering opportunities can involve early youth community work. When you volunteer with children you’ll need to get a DBS check to prove you can safeguard children appropriately, and this DBS check is what you’ll need as a nursery worker, too – so it’s all good experience.

You may be able to volunteer to help part-time in a local school. Check with local schools in your area for opportunities.

What skills do you need for Nursery worker jobs?

Useful skills to highlight to your employer when applying for jobs like this one include:

  • You’ll need ace communication skills to connect with very young children. You’ll also be communicating with parents, carers and other nursery staff.
  • You’ll need teamworking skills to take instruction from any nursery staff members you are supporting and fit into the nursery culture in a positive way
  • You’ll need a positive outlook, which is an important self-belief skill.
  • You’ll need creativity for coming up with fun new ideas for games and activities.

Vocational qualifications and work experience will help you build these skills over time.

What does a nursery worker do?

You could be working in:

Some day-to-day responsibilities could include:

  • Planning and conducting fun activities that help young children develop, like cooking, music and arts and crafts
  • Helping children build language and number skills through educational games and storytelling
  • Feeding and changing babies
  • Helping children learn important life skills like using cutlery and going to the bathroom
  • Taking children into the outside world on outings
  • Writing up reports on how the children are doing (so you’ll be observing them during the day)
  • Safeguarding children to make sure they are safe and well.

Your first steps into nursery worker jobs

Nursery worker jobs are advertised under different job titles. When you’re looking on job boards, look for the following types of job:

  • Nursery practitioner
  • Childcare practitioner
  • Nursery worker
  • Early years nursery support worker
  • Nursery assistant
  • Nursery apprentice
  • Nursery trainee

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