Published On: February 13th, 2024

Thinking of going into a career in childcare but unsure if you have the necessary qualifications? While it may be a little harder to get a job, there are, in fact, other ways you can populate your CV to show that you have a dedicated interest to get started in this profession. Take a look below at what you can do to increase your chances of working in a preschool without having all the qualifications.

Can I work in a nursery without qualifications?

Working in a nursery typically requires qualifications due to regulations and standards set by Ofsted. While some entry-level positions may accept candidates without formal qualifications, pursuing relevant certifications like a Level 2 or Level 3 Early Years qualification is highly beneficial. These qualifications, along with practical experience, will enhance your job prospects and ensure you can comply with regulatory requirements.

That said, many nurseries might offer apprenticeships or training programmes for those without qualifications, providing an opportunity to gain the necessary skills and credentials while working in the field. Others may allow you to begin your career by just gaining on-the-job experience in lower-level positions.

How to get a nursery job without qualifications

If you’ve found a nursery with career opportunities available, and they allow you to get in without the relevant qualifications and just on experience alone, here’s what you should do:

Get your GCSEs

Without childcare qualifications, getting your GCSEs is often a necessity in order to find childcare work. Generally, aim for around 4 or 5 GCSEs in total, with a good foundation in English and Mathematics. Employers may look for at least a grade C or 4 in GCSE English and Maths, as these subjects are crucial for effective communication, record-keeping and basic numeracy skills in a nursery setting. That said, a broad range of subjects is advised and will open up many more opportunities.

Some nurseries may have more flexible entry requirements and consider other qualifications or relevant experience as more important.

Get work experience in nurseries

Perhaps most importantly, you should be getting the relevant work experience within a nursery to help you get an understanding of the role and what it entails.

Volunteering is a good place to start and a great way of networking and getting your foot in the door. In fact, if you have the right qualities, you could get a subsequent job offer.

Another way to gain experience is to offer your services as a babysitter, social worker or childminder. Assistant work in a nursery is also strongly advised. While these may be unpaid or minimally paid, they are a great place to start.

Apply for the job you want

After gaining experience and acquiring essential skills, you can start your search for positions in nurseries. As mentioned, entry-level roles like assisting or volunteering could potentially transition into permanent positions within the nursery. Aside from this, try to:
Explore online job listings or personally visit local nurseries
Have a persuasive CV
Customise application materials for each nursery and role
Familiarise yourself with typical interview questions
Consistently enhance your skill set to increase your chances of securing a position.

What skills are needed to be a nursery worker?

Above all, you must have the necessary skills to work with children. A career as such is not always easy, so you should be well-equipped to handle any challenges that you are faced with with absolute ease. Some of the most essential skills include:


Considering most of your time is going to be spent with groups of children, other staff members and parents, it’s absolutely essential that you have solid communication skills. This involves actively listening, as young children may need additional attention due to their developing communication skills.

Nursery staff also excel in attentive listening, knowing when to ask the right questions and making children feel like they can feel supported. Likewise, they should be able to showcase seamless collaboration among nursery colleagues and engage in constructive conversations with parents regarding their children’s growth and development.


Children, in their early stages of development, frequently exhibit extreme emotional responses to their surroundings. Due to their ongoing development, expressing themselves can be challenging, with some finding socialisation more demanding than others.

Given this, empathy is a crucial trait for nursery professionals, enabling them to comprehend children’s experiences and adjust their interactions accordingly.

Occasional disagreements between children may arise, requiring a fair, empathetic, and understanding approach to resolve conflicts and sustain a positive environment.


Collaborating with young children involves tailoring your approach to align with their interests. In their early years, children often have very short attention spans and are more stimulated by play and enjoyment than formal learning. As such, creativity proves to be an invaluable skill for nursery staff, enabling them to design and execute play-oriented activities that facilitate learning and maintain children’s engagement.


Children at a young age progress and finish tasks at their own pace, often taking time and getting sidetracked during activities. As a result, nursery workers must have significant patience and empathy, acknowledging that children are evolving, each with their distinct pace and communication style.

Patience enables nursery professionals to sustain their enthusiasm and positive rapport with children, irrespective of the time or attention required.

Feel like you’ve got what it takes to start your career in a nursery? Monkey Puzzle has plenty of early career opportunities available to kickstart your journey with training and development opportunities. Simply contact us today to find out more about joining our team.

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