The inspiration for Nicola Blakey to start her own nursery started after discussing her ambitions with other parents, who strongly encouraged her to pursue her passion after saying that they ‘couldn’t think of anyone better to look after their children.’

Despite having two young children, Nicola wasn’t put off in following her dreams and enquired about an adult’s course at Rotherham College.

She had the experience in childcare but was now looking to make the next step up in her career and get the qualifications to enhance her skills and help her fulfil her potential.

Nicola enrolled part-time on the Diploma in Children and Young People’s Workforce Level 3 and learned how to balance work, family life and studying towards a qualification.

“I already had skills and a strong knowledge of childcare from working in the sector, but the course helped me discover the theory behind it. I always wondered why children were saying that, or why they were doing those actions.

“It helped me understand the theory behind a child’s development and provided me with the skills to develop my understanding.”

After successfully completing her course, Nicola says it was definitely worthwhile and would encourage anyone thinking about returning to education to go for it.

She said: “My course provided me with the skills to open my own nursery. It fitted around my working hours and the tutors went out of their way to make sure I fully understood everything they were teaching me.

“Initially, I had concerns about the workload and how I’d find the time. But you learn to adapt and you quickly find a routine which suits you.”

Nicki is now the owner and manager of Thurcroft Early Years in Rotherham, which operates from Thurcroft Welfare Community Hall.

Since opening 18 months ago, the nursery is now a major part of the community and currently has 25-30 children aged 2-4 years old.

She has plans to grow and improve the nursery and intends to continue to develop her skills.

“The course fitted around my lifestyle and with the help of the course tutors and managed to prioritise and break the workload down,”

Nicola Blakey
Diploma in Children and Young People's Workforce Level 3

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