In addition, changes in government funding for the sector has had an enormous impact on the financial viability of many EY providers for many years now.

In recent times it has been managing the changes required to cope with Covid-19 in the workplace. A challenge for every work environment and every employer.

Do YOU now need to change your focus?

The focus in my line of work has always been on developing quality services for children and families, both as a nursery owner/manager and within my work related to advising, training and the coaching and development of others.

I believe that you can never stand still – things inevitably change. But how can you respond?

Nearly six years have passed since the launch of my business, which at that time was named appropriately ‘Early Years Advocacy’ (EYA). Over the last year or so it has been a time for me to reflect on my overarching goals and ambitions.

When I set up EYA it was to be an advocate for the sector. To use my skills, expertise, and knowledge in a supportive role.

I researched, held exploratory meetings, asked questions and have constantly tried to meet the everchanging needs by responding to requests from business owners and managers. I wanted to be proactive.

I’ve achieved this through running a business owners and managers forum/network known as the Hampshire Early Years Network (HEN). Listening to what members want from these meetings is of paramount importance to me and I have helped to meet these needs through the provision of speakers, information, and training to support their quality practice. For more information see the event for the Early Years Network.

In addition, over the last few years I have been running bespoke Leadership and Management Workshops and more recently have provided a range of Special Educational Needs (SEN) Support options and a Peer Support Pilot (for leaders and managers) – all have provided the opportunity to come together with others and share problems and seek solutions with advice and training available as required – see the latest events – with more planned over the coming year.

The aim of these services being to help fill the gap in this sector; a lack of interactive, bespoke, and local support to give staff at all levels and within different roles what they need as individuals.

I established my new website (Strive) over two years ago to broaden my prospects and to focus on what I considered to be my niche in the changing landscape of EY; doing more work on leadership and management development and working more with individuals on a one-to-one basis.

What will your response be?

The EY sector and so many others have changed, and it has been a challenge. There is a need for constant reviews both personally and professionally.

Perhaps you want to progress within your role but are wondering which way to go?

Is it time to seek promotion within your organisation: could this be your chance to go for that senior management position? Do you need help in acquiring extra skills or taking the plunge?

You know that it is becoming increasingly difficult for your employer to appoint people to these posts.

Perhaps you are the business owner and it’s time to expand your services?

What research have you done to ascertain the needs of your service users right now?

Do you want to increase your profits? This in turn could provide you with bigger budgets for staffing, training, or resources; whatever is now a priority for you.

Goals and ambitions

You need action to move things forward for yourself or to make the necessary changes to keep your business running efficiently and to keep abreast of legislation.

Are you hoping things will improve and doing nothing about it? Are you procrastinating?

If you are not reaching your full potential and want to do more: stop, reflect, consider, and then act.

My goals and ambitions are to promote more of the work that I’ve been doing in EY but focussing attention on ‘developing people to achieve success’.

In EY many consultants offer specific training and are skilled educators of children. They work with you to offer first aid, safeguarding, Ofsted preparation and to increase your knowledge on how children learn and develop.

I have offered all these things in the past, but my niche is leadership and management. Helping to also develop the soft skills required to create a productive, harmonious, and motivated workplace.

This in turn builds good working relationships and develops the skills and attributes of individuals. Never to be overlooked for creating the best work environment. In EY, parents will notice, and Ofsted will notice.

In any sector your employees will notice, your clients or service users will notice. A happy, motivated workforce is important.

Stop for a minute and ask yourself the question – What do I REALLY want or need to do right now? Do I need to change my focus? Where can I make a difference? I hope my journey will encourage and motivate you to take the next steps.

Next Steps

If you have any uncertainty and would like some help, please consider the range of support I can offer.

‘Strive’ is a natural progression for me but I am still able to provide specialist support within the EY sector as well. I work with associates, and I am very happy to work in partnership with stakeholders. See the business and personal service offers and events since Strive first evolved and keep an eye on the events page for a whole range of new services being developed in response to demand, or make contact here if you have any questions or requests.

Always happy to help!