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Advice if you are are a refugee and want a job in childcare and play settings.

First published:
29 July 2022
Last updated:

Can I work in a childcare and/or play setting? 

Yes. With the documentation provided by the UK Government on your arrival in Wales, you are able to be employed in a childcare setting. Employers are always looking for those who have the right skills, attitude and commitment to working with children.

To work in a childcare and play setting in Wales certain qualifications are required. However, those without childcare qualifications can still be employed in a childcare and play setting and can gain qualifications as they work.

I have childcare and/or play qualifications from my home country. Will my qualification apply?

Social Care Wales’ (SCW) qualification framework outlines the qualifications needed for different roles. Read Qualification framework for social care and regulated childcare in Wales on Social Care Wales

If you have a qualification but it is not on SCW’s framework, then enquiries can be made with SCW to see if it can be accepted. They consider each request on a case-by-case basis. The process maps your qualification against the Welsh equivalent and lets you know what you need to do to work in a setting in Wales. See International early years and childcare qualifications on Social Care Wales

Whether you have the right qualifications or not, you will need to be vetted and undergo checks before you work closely with children.

What types of childcare settings are there in Wales?

The childcare sector is made up of different types of provision: 

‘Day care’includes:

  • Full Day Care – settings that care for children from birth up to 12 years of age such as nurseries or children’s centres that care for a range of ages, provide wrap around service or after school/holiday care. They typically offer four or more hours of care in a day.
  • Sessional Day care – settings that cater for children from 2 years old for less than four continuous hours a day. These settings may have more than one session each day but there is a break between them where no care is provided. These may include playgroups, Cylchoedd Meithrin (welsh medium play groups), wrap around care or Flying Start provision.
  • Out of School Care – Settings that cater for children up to 12 years for more than two hours a day, usually before or after a child’s school day. This includes: after school clubs and holiday clubs.
  • Play provision – these do not tend to fall under the category of ‘care’ as they provide play opportunities and parents or carers are present and responsible for care or the session is for two hours or less. These include community play centres, mobile play projects, specialist play projects, indoor play centres and family activity centres, and play ranger provision.
  • Creches – Occasional day care for children up to the age of 12 years on non-domestic premises. Creche settings may be temporary or permanently based somewhere where parents are taking part in an activity such as a leisure centre, shopping centre or college.
  • Open access play provision – These offer staffed play sessions for children without their parents present. Children may come and go as they wish. Because of this, they tend to cater for children over five years up to 12 years.

In addition to Day Care provision, Childminder offers home-from-home childcare, offering a variety of play and learning experiences. They care for small numbers of children within a childminder’s home.

More information about the different types of settings, and the standards that they must meet, can be found on GOV.WALES.

More information and support can be found on the websites below:

What is working in childcare and play like?

Working with children is hugely rewarding. You will provide support, encouragement, guidance to children so that their needs are met and they are able to thrive, physically, intellectually and emotionally. Expect to be busy but to have lots of fun!

It will depend on the type of setting and age range of children catered for, but tasks typically include:

  • attending to children’s care needs, such as changing, feeding and comforting;
  • planning and implementing play opportunities that children will enjoy and which support their development;
  • following strict hygiene routines and maintaining health and safety standards;
  • keeping children safe and following safeguarding procedures
  • record keeping, making observations and reviewing progress;
  • liaising with parents/carers/other professionals and establishing good relationships.

If you are interested in a career in childcare, Careers Wales can help you plan, prepare and find a job or training course to suit you. See Childcare and Early Years Education.

For more information on current vacancies in the childcare and play sector, please see the SCW JobsPortal, as well as sector stakeholders:

What is the process for securing a job at a childcare or play setting?

Whether you apply for a childcare or play role or become a volunteer in one of these settings, you will need to be vetted and undergo checks before you can work closely with children. These are required by law for all those working with children. Employers are required to check that you are suitably qualified, are physically and mentally fit, have the right skills, knowledge and character to care for children.

As part of a recruitment process you will be interviewed. The type of interview will vary between settings. If you are invited to interview the provider should tell you what to expect. If they do not, ask what the interview process will entail. During the interview, the provider will likely check verbally and ask you to explain:

  • your qualification (its content and the level you studied at i.e. Level 3/degree level);
  • what experience and skills you have;
  • your full employment history (including any gaps).

What checks will need to take place before I work in a childcare setting?

If you are successful at interview then the provider will need to undertake other checks before you start work. These include:

  • seeking at least two references. They may be a former employer, an academic reference or personal references. Who they seek references from will depend on your personal circumstances. For those newly arrived to Wales, personal references can be accepted in certain circumstances;
  • an Enhanced Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check. This is a UK specific check and requires you to provide certain ID documents. Check someone's criminal record as an employer: Get a standard or enhanced DBS check for an employee on GOV.UK.. You can only work closely with children if you have a satisfactory enhanced DBS check. Your employer can support you through this process, but the application must be made by the individual seeking the check;
  • a criminal record check via your home country embassy. This is also known as a ‘Certificate of Good Character’. Your potential employer may want to seek further assurances that you do not have any criminal convictions. This is because a DBS check would only show whether you have any convictions in the UK. Your employer should discuss their reasons for wanting to request a criminal record check with you. However, if you have reasons for not giving consent, for example, if there may be repercussions for you/your family if your home country discovers your location, be open and explain your situation. The necessity for this type of check will depend on individual circumstances.

For more information about the police checks, see Criminal records checks for overseas applicants on GOV.UK.

  • a medical declaration of health (MDH). This is a self-certified statement to declare that you are mentally and physically fit and healthy to work with children.

These checks will require you to provide certain documentation. The answer to question 6 will explain what you will need.

What documentation do I need to apply for a job in childcare and/or play?

The following table shows what information a provider needs to check and what can be supplied.

Information and documentation Required by Regulation 28

Required Documentation

Name (and any alias and former name) address and date of birth

Passport, driving licence, birth certificate, marriage certificate.

If no passport, driving licence, birth certificate is available, the ID provided by UK/WG Government on arrival can be used for identification purposes.

Information as to the person’s qualifications, experience and skills relating to the specific role

Qualification certificates, training certificates/logs, Curriculum vitae (CV), references.

Where qualification certificates and/or transcripts etc are not able to be provided, the individual should sign a self-declaration that information in application form regarding qualifications and work history is accurate and correct. The individual would need to contact Social Care Wales to determine if any previous childcare qualifications can be accepted.

A statement by person as to the state of their physical and mental health

Medical Declaration of Health (MDH) statement signed by person

A recent photograph

Photograph

Two references with an explanation that the provider is satisfied as to the authenticity of those references.

References ideally from former employers including most recent employer. Can also accept academic references and personal references in exceptional situations. NB: two is the minimum number and could seek more, depending on circumstance/feedback.

Personal references, if employer references are not possible are acceptable.

Full employment history, with an explanation of any gaps

CV, details on an application form

Verification of reason why previous employment or position ended (where that previous employment or position involved working with children)

CV and signed statement from the person. References if possible

An enhanced Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check

DBS certificate and Criminal records check/ ‘Certificate of Good Character’ from home nation

Eligibility to work in the UK (required by immigration law)

Official statement/visa/permit. Work permit/ID supplied by UK/WG to refugees

I have limited identification documentation (ID) with me. What will providers accept?

The table above provides examples of ID that can be accepted.

If you are from Ukraine, the Home Office should be providing temporary ID which will then be replaced by a Biometric Residence Permit once the Home Office has captured and processed your biometric information.

When applying for a DBS check, the DBS’ ID guidelines do make it possible for immigration and ‘documents from local or central government that demonstrate entitlement to benefit’ to be submitted for ID purposes. These documents, alongside ID provided by the Home Office should meet the DBS criteria.

If you are a Ukrainian national in the UK and need further assistance about immigration or visas, you can contact UKVI on +44 (0)808 164 8810 – select option 2. Lines are open Monday to Thursday (excluding bank holidays), 9am to 4:45pm and Friday (excluding bank holidays), 9am to 4:30pm. This is a free phone number, but network charges may still apply.

Am I eligible for any support?

Yes. Working Wales can help you to get ‘work ready’, improve your skills and job opportunities. Working Wales can assist you to prepare for interview, advise of potential funding that you might be able to access and placements. See Support finder | Working Wales (gov.wales).

Your employer might also be benefit from support for employing you, if you meet the criteria, through the ReACT+ scheme.