Introducing the first June '17 class of Koru Kids after school nannies

While most of London slept in on Sunday morning, our student nannies spent the day in class learning about choking, burning, bleeding ... and other less squeamish topics.  With paediatric first aid certificates now earned, and a list of fun activities to do with kids lodged in their minds, they're now ready to be matched with families for summer holiday and after school care. (If you'd like to register your interest for this service as a family, you can do so here.)

Here's a bit more about the members of the first class of June '17:

Alexandra is from Cyprus, and is about to graduate from City University London in Psychology. She is going to start her graduate certificate in Counselling in September and hopes to begin her PhD in counselling the following year. Alexandra has volunteered for Childline and currently volunteers for a school for children with learning disabilities. She loves animals (she has a pet dog) and also likes to cook and go to the gym.

Bethany is British, and just finishing up her 4 year course in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages at the University of Preston. In her third year at university she took a year abroad and worked as an au pair in Madrid which she thoroughly enjoyed. Bethany is really into her music and she plays guitar, piano and sings.

Eloise is currently on her placement year of her Business Management course at Liverpool university. She has plenty of babysitting experience and also helped out at an International Summer Camp for kids in Oxford, which she loved. She is very sporty and plays lacrosse at university.

Jane has just completed her foundation year at Brighton university but is moving to London to study Photography at the London College of Communications. She has extensive babysitting experience and also regularly helps out at junior ballet and junior yoga classes. Her passion is photography but she also loves dogs and has one of her own in London.

Elizabeth has just finished her first year at De Montfort university studying Fashion Textiles. She has decided to take next year out to work on her own clothing line, but was keen to get back into working with kids as she has a lot of previous babysitting experience. Elizabeth also runs her own business which organises events for females (birthday parties etc.) and makes a lot of her own clothes.

Soraya has completed her Graphic Design course at University of Westminster. She has a passion for drawing, and has even created two children's books! She would like to start her own company specialising in either children books, animation or video-gaming (you can see some of her work here She has experience of being a youth worker in a community centre, where she led the arts & crafts sessions for the children.

Alice has just finished her second year studying Fine Art at Goldsmiths. She has plenty of babysitting experience and even has a 6 month old baby brother who she loves looking after. She loves reading and painting and getting out and about.

Jack has just finished his second year studying Illustration at Middlesex university. He wants to go into teaching after his degree and used to teach kids break-dancing as well as babysitting for his girlfriend's younger sisters. He writes his own music, plays guitar and is a great cook.

Jasmine is a mum herself to her 3 and a half year old daughter and is looking to get into childcare as a profession. She loves to stay active and takes her daughter to the park regularly, as well as baking yummy cakes with her. She is also really into her photography and is always being asked to photograph her friend's kids.

Cashai is currently studying Sociology at Goldsmiths university. She has experience of helping out at a nursery, and is also hoping to get into teaching after university. She is very active and loves getting stuck in with hands on activities.

Kesiga is in her second year studying Maths at Queen Mary's University. She has experience working in a tuition centre for 7-16 year olds and enjoys helping children grow and develop. She loves to read and bake with kids.

Takiyah has just finished her second year at De Montfort university studying Contour Fashion. She spent 4 years working as a teaching assistant at StageCoach (a drama school) where she's picked up loads of ideas for games and activities to do with kids! She runs the PR for a university events company that she set up with a group of friends, which keeps her pretty busy!

Naziya has just finished her second year studying English Literature at SOAS. She has hopes of becoming a teacher when she graduates and has experience volunteering at primary and secondary schools. She loves reading, going to the theatre, cooking and spending time with her three young nieces and nephews.

Jerusha has just finished her first year studying Psychology and Counselling at Northampton university. She is an aspiring education psychologist and has experience of working in nursery and primary schools. She loves singing, dancing and writing her own songs. She is also a cheerleader and cheers competitively with her university.

Sinead has just finished her first year studying Journalism at the University of Arts London. She is really creative and used to help out with arts and crafts workshops for younger children at schools. She also used to volunteer at a farm where she would organise daily activities for little ones! She loves to read and enjoys writing.

Tizeoa has just finished her second year studying Drama, Applied Theatre and Education at the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama. She has plenty of babysitting experience, as well as completing a placement in a primary school helping children to read. She is also spending 2 weeks in Cornwall in June helping children with special needs through drama and acting which she is really excited about. She enjoys going to the theatre, especially musicals.

Stephanie is currently studying Healthcare Management at Arden University and is interested in becoming a child nurse. She has experience of working with children with special needs, and in mainstream primary schools. She loves music and spending time with her daughter.

Tracy is currently on a placement year from studying Social Work at Portsmouth university, and has chosen to work with Hampshire council at a community centre for children with disabilities, whether that's physical or mental health. She loves to spend time with her daughter, taking her to the park and going swimming together.

Would you like a Koru Kids nanny for after school or summer holiday care? Register your interest here and we'll let you know whether we have one immediately available. We'll be training more after school nannies throughout the summer, so if you're looking for September start, it's worth joining the waiting list now.

How to apply for a job that doesn't exist: a guide for students

After a permanent role, and not finding what you want on the jobs boards?

It’s time to take it to the next level. Here’s the idea: Beginners apply for jobs that are listed. Winners apply for jobs that aren’t listed.

That might sound dumb. What’s the point asking for a job that doesn’t exist? But it’s actually a great strategy – as long as you target the right company at the right time.

The trick is to find fast growing businesses who value proactive employees. How do you find them? Easy. They advertise in places like WorkInStartups. The job ad they’ve placed might be for something you’re not capable of doing, but that doesn’t matter. If the company is hiring, it’s growing. And if it’s growing, they’ll be hiring for other roles soon—or now. Read the job ads to get a feel for the mission and culture of a few companies, noting down the ones you like.

Next, email the CEO of the company (it’s a startup, so you should be able to contact the CEO pretty easily) a really great cover note, telling them how much you love their mission and how much you want to work in a startup. Tell them what you can do, and attach your CV. Say you’ll work for free for a week to show them what you can do, with no obligation. (Worst case scenario – you’ll get some really useful work experience.)

The brilliant thing about this strategy is that you don’t have any competition, since no one else is applying for this job that doesn’t necessarily exist.

(The drawback is that the job doesn’t necessarily exist.)

Too much work? Want something more certain, or more part time? If you love kids and live in London, consider working with Koru Kids as an after school nanny. Apply here. 


How to find your perfect part time job as a student


It’s tough being a student in London. Sometimes it seems like one long parade of things you can’t have. That great restaurant? You can’t afford it. That awesome coat? You can’t afford it. That night out? You definitely can’t afford it.  And when your troubles get beyond new clothes and start biting into your rent and food…. There’s only one thing for it: you need a part time job.   

Here are our top tips to find one.

1.       Job boards  

Job boards are a great starting point for finding a part time student job. The main challenge is figuring out which one to try first – and then wading through all the options on it.

The granddaddy of all jobs boards is Indeed, where a new job is posted every 8 seconds. That represents a lot of opportunity for you, although it also means a lot of options to process. Luckily the interface is pretty user-friendly and you can apply for jobs with one click. It’s a bit ‘spray and pray’, and there’s certainly no guarantee that you’ll get a role, but if you’ve got the time it’s worth a go. Other good student job boards to check out include E4S and Student Job. Don’t forget your university job board, either—it’s a gold mine.

2.       Job apps

You’ve probably seen apps like TopTask and JobToday advertised on the Tube. These tend to offer short term/ad hoc work, mostly in the hospitality industry – for example, waitressing at an event. If you’d like total control over your hours they’re a good option, but it might be a lot of continual faff if you’re looking for something more recurrent.

3.       Apply directly  

If the thought of trawling through hundreds of job ads doesn’t appeal, you can always apply directly to companies who are filling roles. For example, if you’re interested in part time work after school looking after children, you could drop a line to Koru Kids, who train up students as after school nannies and match them with local families. You’re not competing with thousands of people for the job, since we'll take on as many qualified applicants as we can find. (The main requirements are that you have some childcare experience, and can commit for a few months.) Not into looking after children? Consider becoming a brand ambassador instead. 

4.       Start your own business

If all else fails.  Why not? It worked for Richard Branson.

Interpreting qualifications on a nanny’s CV

Plenty of great nannies have no formal qualifications.  Some parents take the view that the most important skills for a nanny are practical and emotional, and best garnered from experience.  Others feel that qualifications show that a nanny is serious about their profession, and that by knowing about stages of child development they can better anticipate and support a child through them.

Parents tend to pay most attention to qualifications during the selection process prior to the interview.  This is particularly the case for family with more specialised needs, such as a child with special educational needs or disabilities, maternity nursing for a newborn, or working with multiples.  All families will benefit from the nanny having up to date training on topics such as sleep needs, feeding frequency, or managing allergies.

This blog will cover the minimum you should look for when it comes to nanny qualifications, and offer you some pointers for navigating the plethora of qualifications that could feature on a CV, including international equivalents.

The Basics

Childcare qualifications are predominantly guided by the Early Years Foundation Stages (EYFS).  This sets the standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old.  While nannies are unregulated, the training they opt for tends to be informed by the practices of Ofsted-registered early years providers. 

There are certain accredited qualifications that can count towards child: staff ratios in nurseries, and which are most likely to be on a par with the skills and knowledge a nanny needs.  These qualifications focus on Early Years Education, Childcare, Playwork, and Children’s Learning and Development, rather than Health and Social Care.  There are also some relevant training courses that aren’t independently accredited, such as Makaton/baby signing and cooking for children.

If you’d like to really understand the qualifications of an individual nanny, you can ask questions at interview like:  What content did it cover? How was the course taught (online, tutor groups, demonstrations, placements etc.)? How was learning assessed (multiple choice tests, written assignments, portfolios of evidence, observations etc.)? 

Nannies coming to interview will typically bring a folder which includes their original qualification certificates.  It’s well worth looking at these, because candidates are often lax about using the full and proper names of their qualifications on their CV.  In some instances nannies will have attended training courses, but won’t have paid the additional fee to take an exam or to be accredited.  You’ll have to decide for yourself whether you mind about this.

Paediatric First Aid and the Ofsted registration bundle

One thing that all parents tend to agree on is the importance of paediatric first aid training.  This should be renewed every three years.  A good nanny should have done the 12 hour version which involves both theory and practice.  This qualification is required for Ofsted registration, so if they’re Ofsted-registered, they’ve done it.

Ofsted registration isn’t a qualification as such, but a box-ticking exercise to allow a nanny to be paid using childcare vouchers (which requires an Ofsted number).  To become Ofsted registered, nannies need to show that they’ve done four things:

  1. got public liability insurance;
  2. done an Ofsted compliant 12 hour paediatric first aid course;
  3. completed the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks, and;
  4. undertaken a course for the Common Core Skills that covers the 6 common core skills (communicating with children and young people, child development, safeguarding children, supporting transitions, multi-agency team working, and information sharing).  This final component typically takes 2 days to complete.

Level and Size

There are hundreds of relevant qualifications that a nanny to have, and it’s not practical to list them all here.  Instead, we’ll outline a few rules of thumb to help you get your bearings.

 Let’s start with the two key dimensions to accredited qualifications: level and size.

  • Level refers to the proficiency expected.  The scale ranges from 1 to 8, with Level 1 being the lowest.  A lot of childcare qualifications cluster around the Level 2 or Level 3 mark, with the latter tending to be achieved by those working unsupervised with children.  To give you some context, a Level 2 is comparable to GCSE A* to C, a Level 3 is comparable to A and AS Levels, and Level 4 is comparable to year one of a university degree. Level 4 is often required to achieve managerial roles in a nursery.
  • Size is denoted in terms of being an Award, a Certificate, or a Diploma, and indicated by the number of credits a course carries.  The rough rule of thumb is 1 credit for every 10 hours of learning.  The shortest courses will be Awards (carrying 1-12 credits), followed by Certificates, and finally Diplomas (carrying 27 credits or more). 

International equivalents

Sometimes you’ll come across international qualifications on CV.  There’s an official service that works out the equivalence of qualifications relative to the EYFS standards (NARIC Statement of Comparability for the Early Years Sector), but it’s expensive at £120 per qualification.  Within Europe, a simple rule to follow is a European Qualification Framework (EQF) Level is one level higher than the UK equivalent i.e. Level 3 in France is a Level 2 in the UK.

Thankfully, most international nannies do at least one qualification here in the UK -- so it’s rare to be confronted with a CV of just overseas qualifications.