Level 2 Certificate in Playwork

Helen Field began her career as a childminder, before working in a local pre-school. After completing a Level 3 NVQ Helen says she “got bitten by the training bug”. She has since completed a host of qualifications and short courses to support her professional development, and is now studying for a degree whilst working as a tutor at Bedford Training Assessment Centre.

"Whilst childminding I did a 6 week Careers in Childcare course which I suppose really got me thinking about my career path," says Helen. "I began working towards my NVQ Level 3 when I was childminding and completed it whilst working voluntarily as a Chair at a local pre-school." In 2001 Helen’s excellent reputation saw her approached to run another pre-school in the area, which was opened as an additional site to the group Helen was the chair of. In line with her new responsibilities, she began working towards a Level 4 NVQ in Management which she completed the same year.

Helen's enthusiasm for training couldn't help but rub off on her colleagues at the pre-school, who were keen to complete formal qualifications like she had. "After I had done my assessor and verifier qualifications, I became involved in training and supporting my colleagues as an on-site assessor. I helped them achieve their Level 2 and Level 3 NVQs in Early Years, Care and Education which was great as we had a real shortage of qualified staff at that time."

As a manager of a Playwork based setting, Helen had a natural interest in the subject. "I did my Level 2 Certificate in Playwork a couple of years ago, which moved my interest from Early Years to Playwork further. I then did the Level 3 Transitional award as I wanted to learn about Playwork in more depth," she says. "I have a garden full of fab trees and loose parts stuff, and I love to watch my children climb it. In fact, I find it a joy to observe them and everything I learnt from doing the Playwork qualifications makes it even more exciting."

In between running the pre-school, embarking upon this impressive list of qualifications and becoming Manager of Bedford Assessment Centre, Helen has also found the time to attend a host of informal training programmes. "I’ve attended sessions on things like Sharing the Journey - Children's Loss and Grief, Protective behaviours, Essential Drugs and Alcohol Awareness and First Aid, to name but a few. I’m always on the look out for new qualifications and training."

These days, Helen is applying her passion for training to her position managing a group of Assessors at Bedford Training Assessment Centre. "The main part of my role is to ensure quality for the Centre. The variety of qualifications I've done has been really helpful, as I have experience and knowledge of both early years and playwork – and we offer lots of different qualifications in both of these areas. I also run a range of training courses on things like Safeguarding, the Early Years Foundation Stage, health and safety and child development. I run workshops at our annual conference too."

“I am doing a degree now- a BA in Childhood and Youth Studies and am coming to the end of my second year. I’m really enjoying it and learning loads, says Helen. “I also still go to relevant seminars and courses when I can- I’ve kept my professional development up to date and always want to keep learning – I love it!”