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Welsh Government

Work in childcare, play and early years

Childcare practitioner talking with 3 children in a nursery

Do you enjoy helping children learn and develop? A career in childcare, play and early years might be for you.

Caring for children and supporting them to play, learn, develop and grow is one of the most rewarding careers there is.

What's involved?

You could work with babies, young children, and older children up to the age of 12 years.

You will care for and support children, meet their needs and make sure they feel safe and happy. You will also make sure that they experience fun, interesting activities that help them grow and develop.

What skills and training will I need?

If you are enthusiastic, positive, and keen to care for others, then there are a lot of childcare, play and early years jobs that would suit you.

In most roles you can gain training and qualifications you need on the job.

There are a lot of ways to work flexibly, so you can fit caring for children around you and your family.

Introduction to childcare

This is a free two day training course for anyone living in Wales who is interested in working in childcare.

The training covers the essentials needed to work in childcare including safe working practices and working in child centred ways.

Find out more, or register your interest with WeCare Wales.

Level 2 Core Qualifications

The level 2 core qualifications are suitable for those over the age of 16 looking to work in childcare, play and early years roles as an assistant.

This means you would help care for children but would not supervise other staff working with you. Achieving the core qualification will give the core knowledge you need to work in childcare, play and early years.

You can study for this qualification at a further education college or school sixth form if they offer the course.

Level 3 Children's Care, Play, Learning and Development (CCPLD)

If you wish to care for children in an unsupervised or a supervisory role you must get a Level 3 qualification. This is practice-based and tests your skills, knowledge and ability to care for children working in a childcare setting.

You will learn about:

  • Health, well-being, learning and development
  • Professional practice
  • Safeguarding children
  • Health and safety
  • Child development
  • Speech, language and communication
  • Supporting children (nutrition and hydration)

With a Level 3 CCPLD, after two years’ experience of working in a day care setting you could become a person in charge of a children’s day care setting.

From September 2022, you might also need to gain a Level 3 qualification in Playwork. This will depend on your role.

Level 4 Preparing for Leadership and Management in Children’s Care, Play, Learning and Development

If you have got a Level 3 CCPLD or have one of the qualifications accepted on Social Care Wales’ list (Day care / creche deputy manager), you may wish to progress further.

A Level 4 qualification:

  • Is a ‘stepping stone’ for those who want to progress to Level 5
  • Is designed to help you develop the key knowledge and understanding needed for a leadership and management role in Children’s Care, Play and Early Years sector. You can complete this without being in a leadership role
  • Covers leading child-centred practice, theoretical frameworks for leadership and management, understanding how to lead and manage effective team performance

You'll be in demand

Now more than ever, people are needed to provide care, support, and fun opportunities for children.

The demand for childcare workers in Wales continues to rise. The number of online job vacancies has risen by 65% over the last two years. There were nearly 500 job postings for childcare roles in November 2022. (LightcastTM, December 2022)

The top jobs advertised online in Childcare in the latest 30 days in Wales are:

  • Nursery Nurses and Assistants
  • Childminders
  • Playworkers

(LightcastTM, latest 30 days to 3 December 2022)

Explore job roles


Find out more about being a nanny and if its right for you.

Get more help to decide

If you are not sure about a career in care, try the WeCare Wales learning resource 'A Question of Care: a career for you' to see what a career in childcare is like. Once you’ve completed two of the challenges, you'll receive a personal profile that can help you decide if childcare is right for you.

Learn more about the jobs available working with children in Wales, by reading real stories from real people on WeCare Wales.

Find jobs

If you think a job in childcare, play and early years might be for you, there are a few things you can do:

  • Find job vacancies near you on WeCare Wales jobs
  • Check for vacancies advertised with your local council
  • Call into local businesses to introduce yourself and leave your CV
  • Get in touch with a Working Wales adviser for a chat about your future and see what support is available for you
  • Check out the links below for more opportunities and vacancies
Job websites

Use our list of popular job websites to help your job search.

Job Bulletin

Use our job bulletin to access hundreds of live vacancies across Wales. 

Routes into childcare, play and early years


The ReAct+ progamme aims to help individuals aged 20 or over, who have been impacted by redundancy, gain the skills sought by recruiting employers.

All applicants for ReAct+ grants must seek advice and guidance from one of Working Wales’ careers advisers. This advice and guidance will take into account the labour market.

The ReAct+ programme can provide a grant of up to £1,500 for vocational training and up to £200 to help with costs associated with training, for example travel expenses. Additional support for care and childcare costs to remove barriers to employment is also available.

Find out more about ReAct+.


There are apprenticeships available at levels 2,3,4 and 5.

Apprenticeship roles vary from day care or creche assistant practitioners and social care workers to managers and deputy managers of early years and social care settings.

Find out more about apprenticeships in Wales.

Hear from those who have completed an apprenticeship in care on the WeCare Wales website.

Training from PACEY

PACEY provides training to help develop knowledge, skills and self-confidence.

A range of training is available from pre-registration training for childminders, to safeguarding training for anyone working with children.

Find out more about training from PACEY.