Thomas Cairns, Onslow Drive Day Nursery, Glasgow

Thomas Cairns

Onslow Drive Day Nursery, Glasgow
My journey into Early Learning and Childcare

I was attracted to a career in Early Learning and Childcare after supporting my mum to raise her three grandchildren. I constantly moved from job to job, varying from bartender, call centre agent, to working in retail and as a café manager. The reason for these moves was to try and identify what was and was not for me, and primarily find something that I enjoy!

Of course, being a male in the Early Years sector was a worry at first as there can be a bit of a stigma. So, one of the most surprising things to date is how well received more males into Early Years are.

I managed to secure my placement on the Approved by Dads programme through Glasgow City Council. I was referred by the Head of Establishment of my niece’s nursery. She noticed how I was able to connect my nieces and nephews and how I interacted with their peers. I am still currently undergoing the SVQ Level 3, which is two days a week working at the nursery and one day a fortnight in a college/class environment, which enables to me to work and learn simultaneously.


Making a real difference to the lives of children

The most enjoyable thing about my job is watching the development of children, by offering them new, interesting and exciting experiences that then enable them to develop their own interests, and personalities. I am lucky to see the imaginations of children under the age of five daily – creativity is a big element of my job too. I get a great sense of satisfaction and pride, watching the children do things that they once said they could not do, and the look on their faces when they realise they can.

Early Learning and Childcare makes a massive difference to the lives of the children we work with. Unfortunately, some young children don’t have a positive role-model at home, and just having that nursery contact alone for a child can really make their day. It’s crucial to promote confidence, independence and social skills in young children. The most rewarding aspect of the job is being able to make a difference in the lives of children every time you go to work. This, and being a part of changing the future as some of the most important aspects of development happen in the first five years of our lives.

Whether you’re a school leaver, a man considering Childcare or even a more ‘mature’ person thinking of pursuing a new career – go for it! If you believe it’s for you and you possess the skills and qualities required, then don’t doubt yourself. Especially if you’re a man, don’t let a stigma or peer pressure put you off!

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"I have always been a creative individual and I’m lucky to get many opportunities to use my creativity at work."