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02 Mar 2023

Spotlight on Jake Forecast, Kids Inc. Enfield

Spotlight on Jake Forecast, Kids Inc. Enfield

Jake was promoted to manager at Kids Inc’s 101-place setting in Enfield in October, where he manages a team of 25 staff.

Why did you go into childcare?

I fell into it accidentally! I was looking to do a teaching and development course, and I found a college that did early years and thought it would be a way into teaching. I went into the course and have absolutely loved it ever since. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for that mistake.

So you initially intended to be a teacher?

Yes – but I worked as bank staff for Kids Inc while I was doing my uni degree in primary education. Once I completed my training, I went into teaching, but thought: nope, this isn’t for me. So I went back into childcare as a room leader, then came back to Kids Inc, first as a trainee deputy then as a manager – I’ve worked my way up quite quickly.

Why did you leave teaching for early years?

It might sound strange but it’s the structure of early years as compared to teaching – and it was the workload and support.

How do you find it being a man in a sector dominated by women?

I knew you were going to ask that! I really enjoy it. Obviously I have had challenges – I actually did some interviews with CACHE and the Guardian, and a lot of comments were like, ‘men don’t need to be in childcare’ – it wasn’t very pleasant.

I think I’ve shown myself to be a good role model. If I had a pound for every time a parent has gone, “Oh it’s really good to have a man in the nursery,” I’d be rich! I find it really beneficial for the children, and I’m proud to be in early years, because I get to be that example, and I want to break those barriers.

Did you ever see yourself becoming a manager?

No, it kind of just happened. When I went back to Kids Inc, I was expecting to be a nursery nurse, but Stevie [Deeble, operations manager at Kids Inc] really sees the potential in me.

The plan was originally to fast-track me from trainee deputy to become deputy within three months. And then when I was told, “We’ve reviewed it and we actually want you to be manager”, I was like, what! I never really saw myself as a manager, but [Kids Inc] see that potential in me – so I’m taking it! I’m grateful for those opportunities.

How do you find it being a new manager?

I really enjoy it, and I’m also learning a lot – for me that’s the most important thing. I say to my team, I’m going to make mistakes and I’m going to own up to them. I’m going to apologise to you and we’re going to find a way around it. And if you feel like I’m doing something wrong, tell me. It’s about constant communication.

What is the best thing about being a manager?

I’m really glad to be back [in early years] again; that passion’s been reignited, and my confidence as well. The best thing about being a manager is when someone can see my point of view and strengthen that point of view with their side. For me, collaborative learning is the best thing, and I always make sure we’re working together as one.

What is your take on the government considering relaxing the ratios of staff to children?

Are you here for an hour?! I don’t think [the government] should go ahead with it; I don’t think they see what goes on in everyday life in nurseries.

They really need to consider what professional practice looks like in the early years. Otherwise, the parent partnerships, the learning and development, the health and safety, the child protection, will be weakened by not having safe ratios.

What is your favourite mid-shift snack?

Crisps or hard-boiled sweets help my concentration, and I usually get a Lucozade to boost my energy. I have ADHD so that affects me – I have to have high blood sugar levels or I’ll be falling asleep by the end of my shift because my energy levels crash! I was diagnosed last year, and I’ve found a lot of highs and a lot of lows.

How do you manage leadership with having ADHD?

It’s the team; they really support me. And I’m learning as a leader to balance myself, to prioritise. Some days, I’m very heightened and overstimulated, and my deputy brings me right down, which is brilliant. We all work in different ways – and my team, and senior management, have found ways to support my skills.

If you could go on holiday anywhere, money no object, where?

Disneyland Paris! I’ve never been able to go, and I’m a massive, massive Disney fan. I’d be in heaven.

What would be your message to nursery managers across the UK reading this?

I think we need to support men in childcare as much as possible. Let’s try and find ways to work together and make sure we’ve got that gender balance.

And I also want to say something about neurodiversity. We need to support people – we’ve all got potential, we’ve just got different ways of doing things.

 

 


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