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Not Just a Job... My Red Balloon Journey

Laura Hughes

10 Years with Red Balloon

Work Progression

Student - Nursery Nurse - Second in Charge - Head of Room -

Deputy Manager - Manager

Training

SEN - DSL - Food Hygiene - Level 2 in Food and Nutrition - Leadership Training

Red Awards Won

Red Hot & Team Player

Achievements

Led the nursery in achieving an OFSTED Outstanding rating

Led the nursery in achieving level 3 NDNA e quality award

From Laura

“I would always recommend Red Balloon as an amazing place to work. They are a small company who care greatly about their team. Everyone works closely together, so it becomes more like a family. Red Balloon have supported me throughout my journey, which started off as a student whilst completing my Diploma in Childcare and Education, to today where I am managing our Weybridge setting. They have given me so many wonderful opportunities during my time with them.”

Not Just a Job... My Red Balloon Journey

Gyopar Sztakics

4 Years with Red Balloon

Work Progression

Bank Staff - Nursery Nurse - Second in Charge - Head of Room

Training

Level 3 Childcare, Working on Foundation Degree

From Gyopi

“My name is Gyopar Sztakics. I am Hungarian and being part of the Red Balloon Family for nearly 4 years. I came to England straight after finishing high school and graduating with a goal of studying towards my degree in special education.

After a month in the country I have been employed in Red Balloon Cobham as a bank staff, being an unexperienced young girl, the world just opened for me in point of my career. I have been encouraged to consistently develop myself, and the nursery have helped me to study towards my course, I have completed level 3 Childcare at Brooklands College.

After a month of full time bank staff work, I have worked in all rooms and been employed full time in the Green room, working with babies. After another month I moved up to the Red room which is the smaller toddler room. I have gained experiences and have made friends.

The nursery have supported me economically towards my fees at the university and any time I had questions everyone has been very helpful and welcoming.  After a year I thought would like to move on to another age group and became Second in charge in Blue room, children between 2-3 years. In the meantime I have gained management skills and my English language have developed drastically. I have gained exceptional knowledge about the EYFS and children’s development. Another year passed and a head of room position came up at the Pre-school room of the nursery. I got promoted and since then I am enjoining the busy life of the nursery. I am one of the luckiest person to experience all rooms and work with all the age groups. Now I am getting ready for graduating from my Foundation degree at Kingston University. We also have formed and exceptional team in pre-school within 2 more practitioners and the teacher. Every day I arrive to the setting and go down to the room I feel as being part of a family. Sophie Hall the manager greats me with a smile and supports me in my ups and downs. The pre-school team is like a family, we share our secrets, laugh and really enjoy working. One of the best part of working here is the endless opportunities of creating my own ideas, I really feel appreciated of being different and always feel as a very important part of a big puzzle, where everyone puts their piece of personality and then we create a big Red Balloon Puzzle alongside with parents and the children.

Working with children is absolutely amazing you become part of the families and their lives, we laugh and grow together, watching the children develop from day to day, learning to walk and bubble to writing their names and waving goodbye in their Graduation Gowns all ready for the big school, is an invaluable experience.”

Not Just a Job... My Red Balloon Journey

Vicki Palmese

9 Years with Red Balloon

Work Progression

Nursery Nurse - Deputy Head of Room - Head of Room

Training

NVQ3

From Vicki

“Hi my name is Vicki Palmese and I have worked at Red Balloon for 8 ½ years. I started working for the company when I was 19 and worked with the baby room age group for two years whilst studying for my NVQ3, which I completed within 9 months with the support from the Red Balloon team.

 I really enjoyed working with the baby age group however I wanted a new challenge and I then moved up to the red room (toddler age group). I started out in this room as a nursery nurse and within a year I became deputy head of the room, assisting the head of room with her day to day jobs, as well as providing outstanding care to the children.

The Head of Red room position came up the following year which I applied for and I got the job role. I really enjoyed working with this age group as guiding the children to meet their milestones was very rewarding. A year later Head of Blue room position came up so again I applied for it as I wanted a new challenge with an older age group, and I got the position. It was a very lovely experience supporting and helping the older age group and helping them meet the different milestones preparing them for Pre – School.

A year later I decided as much as I had enjoyed working with the older age group, my heart was with the younger children, supporting their care and development, so I went back to being the Head of Red room and stayed there for the next three years until I left to go on maternity leave to have my own baby. I went on maternity leave for nine months and then came back to Red Balloon as bank staff, where I have felt the company have been very flexible with my days of work due to me finding childcare for my daughter. Red Balloon have supported me greatly with this. I have really enjoyed coming back to the company after having my daughter and working two days a week.

While I have been with the company I have completed the main core training and been on many other courses relevant to the setting. On top of that I was sent on regular updated courses to make sure I was always refreshed with new information that I could bring back to the nursery and implement into the room, and sharing the information with the rest of the staff team.

While I have worked at Red Balloon I have met some amazing people who I have learnt a lot from. I have gained so much knowledge from working here and have made some amazing bonds with the children which I will never forget. Red Balloon gave me some great opportunities and always pushed me to better myself while being continuously supported.

To other people who would consider working in child care I would highly recommend coming to Red Balloon as you will be able to work with a lovely team of people who are very welcoming. Red Balloon want to better all their members of staff and they recognise potential in the staff and offer many promotions, as well as further training. If you want to further your qualifications and do a degree Red Balloon will contribute £500 towards the cost and will support you with your course work while working.”

Not Just a Job... My Red Balloon Journey

Lily Martin

9 Years with Red Balloon

Work Progression

Bank Staff - Nursery Nurse - Second in Charge - Head of Room - Manager

Training

NVQ Level 3, Fundation Degree Childcare & Education - BA Hons Early Yers Education

From Lily

“Hi, I’m Lily.

 I’ve worked for Red Balloon for nearly 9 years! Whilst I was studying for my A Levels, I decided to join the bank team. I worked throughout half terms and summer holidays. I decided that I wanted to do my childcare qualification once I’d finished my A Levels so I joined the Red Balloon Team in Cobham as a Nursery assistant. I completed my NVQ Level 3 in just under a year and had an assessor come to nursery every few weeks to support me with my qualification. In September 2012, I decided to further my qualifications but doing my Foundation Degree in Childcare and Education. I completed my Foundation Degree but then decided to take a break from studying. In February 2013, we opened our sister nursery in Weybridge. I moved to the Weybridge setting to be a Head of Room and to help with setting up the new nursery. I stayed in this role until July 2014 when I decided that my time at Red Balloon had come to an end. I had left for a few months where I tried nannying but found it very lonely. In November 2014 I returned to Red Balloon in Cobham as a Head of Room. In 2015, I went back to complete my final year of my studies and completed my BA Hons In Early Years Education.  In September 2016, I got promoted to Deputy Manager. This is also the same time where we brought our third nursery in Ockham. In May 2017, I then got another promotion to Manager and moved over to our Ockham setting.

Every year we ask parents and staff to vote for ‘Best Team Player’, ‘Red Hot’, ‘Above and Beyond’ and ‘Best Newcomer’. We also have ‘Practitioner of the Year’ which is across all three settings. You can win yourself extra holiday, prosecco, flowers etc.

Red Balloon is a great place to work – it’s a home from home environment and we are all a family. Red Balloon apricates their staff putting on breakfast spreads, giving each staff an Easter Egg, Christmas presents and work parties etc. The owners are heavily involved in maintaining their vision and goals are continuously in place throughout all three settings.

Red Balloon allows you to develop yourself personally and professionally – so come and let us support you in making yourself into the best practitioner you can be!”

Not Just a Job... My Red Balloon Journey

Melissa Chadwick

4 Years with Red Balloon

Work Progression

Nursery Nurse - Deputy Head of Room - Head of Room

Training

NVQ3

From Meissa

“My name is Melissa Chadwick, and I have been at Red Balloon for over three and a half years now.

I started at Red Balloon as a part of the bank team and was then offered a full time position shortly afterwards. I then started my NVQ Level 3 in The Children and Young People’s Work Force which I completed not long before becoming Second in Charge of the Baby Room.  After around a year, the position for Head of Baby Room opened which I applied for and was met with success! I am currently enjoying my new role and taking on the responsibilities and challenges it brings!

I have been on a few training courses in the time I have been with Red Balloon, including Safeguarding, Health and Safety and First Aid for both adults and children. I will also be doing my Designated Safeguarding Lead training in May.

I love the atmosphere that Red Balloon has and it’s noticeable first thing in the morning. I walk in and everyone is in a cheerful and enthusiastic mood ready to start the day. There is always some exciting activity that is ready and waiting for the children to enjoy and learn and it’s amazing to be a part of their development.

Red Balloon has helped me so much by continuously giving me opportunities to further my career, as well as all of the training. Our management team are always around if you need a helping hand and my manager appreciates the ‘little things’ that we do! Another lovely part about being a part of the Red Balloon team is that we get treats and thank yous, whether it be for doing well in inspections, creating amazing learning opportunities for the children and of course, birthdays.