Article 83 out of 83
Kids Allowed has made a niche for itself in the childcare market, by offering a whole range of extra services as well as childcare, such as ironing and dry cleaning to make parents’ lives easier.
Its parent concierge service is very unusual and is available at all of its four nurseries situated in Cheshire, Manchester, Knutsford and Macclesfield.
Jennie Johnson, chief executive of Kids Allowed, says: "The way we see things, support for parents is just as important as support for their children. There are lots of little day to day pressures that we can take away, which make parents’ days a bit easier and allow them more time to simply relax and enjoy being with their child."
The concept behind it is that the service will improve family life and ensure time spent at home is quality family time.
Ms Johnson says: "Our centres have a comprehensive range of services to match the real needs and expectations of family life.”
She calls them ‘Easy Life’ services, and they include dry cleaning, ironing, organising children’s parties and posting letters.
For children’s parties, Kids Allowed offers a party venue, sources entertainers, provides party bags and even clears up afterwards.
It also offers a babysitting service and will do its best to ensure it is a person whom the child knows from the nursery.
For parents down to their last nappy without the time to go to the shops, the nursery even sells a small selection of essential baby items such as nappies and teething gel.
Kids Allowed recently took on another challenge by opening a training academy.
Kids Allowed is planning to take on 36 apprentices over the next year as part of its new training academy.
The academy will combine studying for a recognised childcare qualification with a full time paid job, providing apprentices with work experience and lots of opportunity for career growth.
The apprentices will be taken on as full-time employees once training has been completed. Apprentices will work four days a week with one day in the academy to train for Level 2 or 3 childcare qualifications.
Ms Johnson said: "The thinking behind it is quite simple. We’re finding out that whether we have Level 2 or Level 3 staff coming in, there is a large skills gap, which surprises us. But when I’ve spoken to other nursery owners they feel the same."
"We find that we’re having to invest in additional training to get people up to the Kids Allowed standard. We feel that there isn’t enough practical, hands-on, deep learning in NVQ2 Level 2 and 3."
Ms Johnson added: “Rather than continuing to put so much effort into training people who already had their qualifications on paper, we have decided to take matters into our own hands and train people to be the very best through our own academy."
Ms Johnson set up Kids Allowed in 2003, when she was unable to find the right childcare for her daughter. Kids Allowed now runs four nurseries, which between them employ nearly 300 staff.