BLOG: My Highland Road Trip to Recruit Childminders

BLOG: My Highland Road Trip to Recruit Childminders
SCMA is currently leading a recruitment campaign to increase the number of childminders in specific urban and rural areas. The target areas in Highland include Bettyhill, Durness, Foyers and Stratherrick, Kinlochbervie, Portskerra, Skye, Thurso, Tongue and Wick. 

As part of our mission to promote the opportunities available to become a childminder in these areas of the Highlands, SCMA’s Area Manager, Lisa Mackay made a 500-mile round-trip journey to attend a recruitment fayre in Thurso, stopping in other places to put up posters and hand out leaflets about becoming a childminder, supported by our special initiative.  

Read below about Lisa’s Highland Road Trip to recruit new childminders in the Highlands...

Friday 10 March
I left Edinburgh on a beautiful morning to head for the Highlands - there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, it was an absolutely beautiful day, and I was excited to be going up north. I was looking forward to getting to the Thurso recruitment fayre to speak with locals about becoming a childminder. I really got into the spirit of things by hanging some SCMA windmills out my car windows! 

I made an obligatory stop on the way up at the House of Bruar in Perthshire, reaching the Highands around lunch time, so I headed to the Black Isle for some lunch!  I continued on the A8 and eventually found myself on the North Coast 500 route and started to see the snow on the ground of North Tain, it was absolutely beautiful. Finally, I arrived in Thurso at around 4pm.  

Saturday 11 March: Caithness Jobs and How to Get Them 
I woke to another lovely day but there was a thick covering of snow, so had to dig my car out to leave the cottage. I started to make my way to the University of Highlands North Campus for the ‘Caithness Jobs and How to Get Them’ recruitment fayre. there were more than 40 different organisations and companies exhibiting at the event, and the people attending had the opportunity to learn about current vacancies, skills required for future careers, training opportunities, as well as support for apprenticeships. 

Childminding is a vital community asset and provides local, flexible childcare and family support – which we know, can be particularly important in remote and rural communities. I really loved speaking to people about the funding, training and support available to become a childminder and to have a new, rewarding career working with children.  It was a great day and was well attended – and the best part was that SCMA received lots of enquiries from people interested in becoming a childminder in Highland! 

The recruitment fayre finished, and I popped in to Dunnet Bay Distillery for a quick tour and sample of their gin – it would be rude not to! Then I headed to Castletown near Dunnet Bay to drop-off a few leaflets off at some shops on Mackay Street before going home.  

Sunday 12 March
The sun was still shining, so I headed west along the North Coast 500.  The first stop en-route was Strathy, which is around 20 miles west of Thurso, where I met the local school teacher who also runs Strathy Community Hall. I left some posters and leaflets with her to help spread the word about the opportunity to become a childminder. Strathy was absolutely beautiful! 

Being a Mackay, I wanted to take the opportunity to stop at the Mackay Country Marker Stones – there are six that mark the borders of Sutherland (Mackay Country). I’ve always wanted to do this, so I was delighted to be able to reach one of the stones as part of my road trip to the Highlands, it was so special! 

I headed on to the village of Bettyhill, which is situated on the coastline and dotted with beautiful white sand beaches. It sits at the northern end of Strathnaver and has some really scenic views out towards Torrisdale Bay.  I spoke to some lovely locals and left leaflets about becoming a childminder at the village hall, which also happened to be hosting a craft fayre at the time. I did a wee bit of shopping and then got back on the road for the final leg of my trip! 

I made a quick wee stop at Strathnaver Museum, as it also has a dedicated Mackay room which is undergoing refurbishments – but I manged to get a quick look inside and of course spoke to the manager of the Museum about our recruitment campaign and left her with some leaflets and posters to help spread the word locally! I also popped into a local café for a bite to eat and spoke to the locals about childminding and our recruitment campaign - some of whom had already heard about it, which was lovely. They all said how much childminding and more quality childcare was desperately needed in the area.  

Monday 13 March 
It wasn’t such a nice day weather-wise for my final day in the Highlands; it was quite overcast and really windy. I continued along the NC500 route to my final stop of Tongue, which is identified as one of the areas in our recruitment campaign urgently in need of more childminders. I stopped in at the local post office and left more promotional materials for them to put up in the shop and had a good chat with some locals about SCMA and our childminding campaign.  

Are you interested in becoming a childminder? 
Professional childminding is a hugely rewarding career, where you welcome children into your home to provide high-quality, nurturing childcare to help them grow and develop. Childminders come from a wide range of backgrounds, with many choosing to join the profession.  

It’s a rewarding career option, which provides the opportunity to work with children and support families in local communities; it fits around caring for your own family; contributes to children’s development, learning and wellbeing, and provides the flexibility to run your own business from home.

For more information on becoming a childminder through our special recruitment campaign, please CLICK HERE.