Childminding can be a great employment opportunity for non-serving partners and spouses as it offers flexible home-working to suit your family’s needs, can be done overseas and allows you to give something back to your community. In Cyprus, Jill Shaw (pictured above) is SSAFA’s childcare co-ordinator and part of her role with early years services includes training members of the military community to become registered childminders. We spoke to Jill to find out more…

What is your role?
I co-ordinate the registration and inspection of early years and childcare and I’m the initial point of contact for anyone interested in childminding. I meet all new applicants and arrange their mandatory checks and training.

Why would you recommend a career in childminding?
It gives you the chance to enjoy a rewarding and responsible career with all the benefits of home-based working. The qualifications are transferable on posting, so you can easily re-register when you move. Ongoing professional development is essential and there are currently childminders in Cyprus working through a range of qualifications.

How do you support spouses/partners through the application process?
Childminding requires family support as your home is about to become the base for a business. I offer practical support and information to ensure you are trained and compliant.

What advice do you offer?
Enquires vary from people with little childcare experience to those who are well qualified and have worked in other settings. You’ll be required to follow the Early Years Foundation Stage and my initial visit helps me understand your needs. Business support officers help with checks and arrange training.

How do you help people transfer their childminding business to Cyprus?
If you’re already registered with Ofsted in the UK or BFEYS in Germany, SSAFA can generally accept existing checks and qualifications. We simply fast track the application. I’ll visit you to offer practical advice on setting up and, when that’s complete, arrange for registration and inspection. It’s all very straightforward.

How can people prepare before they arrive?
The paediatric first aid training can be done in advance, but you won’t know how you will want to set up your space until you are in your new home. SSAFA aims to complete the application process within six months. Whilst this is going on, you can prepare your property and set up how you will manage the business.    

Do you offer ongoing support?
You are self-employed, so you’re responsible for arranging training of your choice. SSAFA recommends PACEY (Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years) as it offers a range of online resources. SSAFA also provides ongoing information and training within the BFC community.

What about training?
I can arrange all you need, including:

  • An introduction to EYFS and setting up a home-based childcare service
  • Safeguarding children course – levels one and two
  • Paediatric first aid course.     

Case study

Stephanie Clarkson-Kearsley is a newly-registered childminder in Akrotiri. She said: “I didn’t get overwhelmed as Jill was always there to pick up any questions or provide information.

“The childminding course was concise and full of useful tips and advice. Jill’s contacts and knowledge were invaluable to me.

“The whole application was stress-free and Jill’s support made it a smooth process. She was there every step of the way, making me feel supported and valued.”

Stephanie’s husband added: “Jill was helpful and took the time to get to know us. It was nice that she came to our house when it was convenient for Steph – even the childminding course was suited around our childcare.”

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