“I’ve been manager at the nursery in Chalfont St Peter since it opened in May 2017, but I’ve worked at Hungry Caterpillars for six years now,” Ela Konyardi tells us.
Since she joined, Ela has gained new qualifications and risen through the ranks to her current position in charge of the group’s flagship setting – and she puts it down to the support she’s received from the group’s senior leadership team. “I joined Hungry Caterpillars as a room leader and third-in-charge at our Hathaway Children’s Centre setting, then was promoted to deputy, and moved to our West Twyford branch when it opened,” Ela says.
“That’s when I was promoted to nursery manager. I worked there for about five years before being given the opportunity to step up again, managing a bigger setting, a bigger team, in this wonderful location – it has been fantastic for me.”
She picks out her Early Years degree as an example of the help she has had to progress her career. “Olivia [Oliva Foley, founder and director] and Chris [Chris Roblett, Director of Childcare & Operations] are fantastically supportive with training,” she tells us. “I managed to complete my degree in Early Years while working full-time as a deputy manager. It was a three-year course, and I was required to go to university one day a week during that time. I was given that day off to attend the lessons. Balancing work and study was a challenge, but with commitment and that flexibility, I did it!”
Leadership support isn’t restricted to training either: Ela picks out the help she and her staff are given to do their jobs from the head office team. “They’re very hands-on, so we get amazing support with every part of the nursery,” she says.
Olivia Foley shares three reasons Hungry Caterpillars could be right for you…
HAVE A CAREER
“If someone joins us, works hard and wants to do well, every door will be open to them, without a doubt. That’s why I’ve seen apprentices who have joined me at age 17 become managers of my nurseries. If you want it, it’s there for you.”
“We actively support apprentices and work with the fantastic Hawk Training. Practitioners can access everything from their Level 2 and 3 to forest school qualifications, and go on to get a degree and Early Years Teacher Status, if they want to.”
“We hold a Superstar Awards Day each year to celebrate our staff’s achievements. We put them forward for industry awards, as well; I think practitioners can feel isolated, that what they’re doing isn’t important – we want them to be recognised.”
Find out more
Hungry Caterpillar Day Nurseries is an Ofsted ‘outstanding’, family-run early years provider operating across West London into Ealing, Hillingdon, Buckinghamshire and Harrow, and was recently named ‘Nursery Employer of the Year’ by NMT. For more information about what career opportunities it has to offer you, visit hungrycaterpillars.co.uk/careers