Richard is the Nursery Development Manager at our London branch!

Richard has been with Connex since December 2006 and has kindly allowed us to ‘walk in his shoes’, to live a day in the life of a Nursery Development Manager at Connex Education!

At 6:30am I’m awoken by a buzzing noise. My phone is ringing away, and I reach over to catch it just before it jumps off of my bedside table. “Hello, Connex Education, Richard speaking….”

It’s one of my candidates calling. She’s not feeling very well, and has kindly called me up as early as possible to let me know she isn’t able to go to work today. This is great news for me, though – she’s left me with more than enough time to find a replacement for the day.

Five minutes later, I’m straight on to our Connex app, trying to fill the booking – great news, I’ve found someone who can replace the ill candidate. Woop woop, (insert name here) saves the day!

My breakfast is pretty bog standard, haha – I have a glass of milk, and a cereal bar, ready to leave for work at 7:00am. I usually cycle to work, and will leave plenty of time for the journey (I do end up on the phone to candidates while cycling). Today, I get a client on the phone. They need staff ASAP to work until 6:00pm. Juggling my phone and the direction my bike is going in can be a pain, but it’s worth it if I can help the nursery out in good time. I’ll leave a few messages for some of our candidates to get back to me, and then by the time I reach work at 7:25am, I’ve got a response.

After a few more calls, we have a cheerful practitioner off to help develop the children, and a happy nursery which has been saved the trouble of finding their own replacement. Disaster averted, if you don’t include the fact that I almost dropped my phone!

At 7:25am, I’ve identified 3 candidates who are available this morning, from Dagenham, Islington and Hackney. So now, it’s time to do a call around to see if any of our nurseries are in need of staff. I do enjoy this part of the morning – it’s my chance to show off any new nursery nurses that may fit the bill perfectly for these particular nurseries, and they’re just as excited as I am when I tell them I have the perfect fit.

By 8:50am, I’ve managed to get all three candidates who are available out to the nurseries/children’s centres I’ve spoken to a few minutes ago, so now I’ll just need to confirm the candidates details and security checks with the nursery.

By this time, my colleague Fatmata is here, so I’ll pretty much just fill her in on our day so far, and whether there’s anything worth knowing – our company tends to get involved in National Days, and give our staff a heads up in case they fancied getting involved too. This week, it’s World Nursery Rhyme Week – perfect for us! After a quick catch up and a loose leaf green tea, we’ll crank up the volume on our radio – Wednesdays is country and folk music. Nobody can say they had a bad day when it starts with Johnny Cash!

By 10:00am, we’re well in the swing of the working day, and I’ll begin placing our staff for the week after. It’s great catching up with them on a weekly basis, and I think the most important thing is that we’re constantly reassuring them that we’re here if they need us. They know if they have a preference/issue we’ll do our very best to accommodate that.

My calls throughout the day are based on developing stronger relationships with clients & our temporary staff. I pride myself on providing a good service to every individual person, and I’ll always go the extra mile to help. I’m a very upbeat person in general, so I’d like to think each person looks forward to my call, hah!

The conversation topics are endless – we talk about their plans for the weekend, discuss their families and I regularly like to throw in the fact that I am now an Uncle! I make that many calls a day that I think if they weren’t all personalised, it would soon come across that there was no true relationship, and I just don’t think that’s the way to work. We’ve been told before that other teaching supply agencies are quick to the bat when it comes to filling a slot – I personally have a strong working relationship with my clients, and we all know a lot about each other – it’s like catching up with an old friend when we talk, and taking the time to build that relationship is 100% worth it to understand their needs and requirements.

As the afternoon kicks in, I have a number of candidates who are getting back to my voicemails from the morning. As they will have been working, it’s normal to expect that I’ll be inundated over lunchtime to confirm further work for them. Again, I like to catch up with them as much as I possibly can, and it’s great to hear feedback from the placement they’ve had that morning.

There is a lot of strategy involved when trying to book a candidate for their next role, because there are so many factors that will come in to it – which candidate’s personality best suits which nursery; best fit in regards to their job role; skills and location; and I have to know them well enough to understand the times they’re available/unavailable and where they like to work. In case you’re wondering, I do still take a 10-minute walk every day to grab a couple of bagels with cream cheese on top – a man’s got to eat after all!

After my walk, I’ll start calling around each of our nurseries to find out what went well today and if they need any supply for the day after. I’ll also check up on our candidates who aren’t feeling very well to see whether they’ll be available for the next day/week, and anyone who had work that day. No point bothering them early in the morning when they’re not feeling their best!

From that point, the rest of my day is usually just trying to get early year’s staff in to nurseries for the rest of the week. Calls are constantly coming through, right up until around 7:00pm, and afterwards any other calls will be dealing with urgent cases, such as a nursery needing someone ASAP for the morning or an ill candidate.

As a Connex employee, I’ve always felt like a valued member of the team. I remember when I first joined as a recruitment consultant, how welcome I was made to feel in my first week. The office atmosphere is so lively and friendly, with the emphasis on hard work being rewarded. I dress casually for work every day, but that in no way reflects on the company’s professionalism. It just means I can work to the best of my ability without tugging a tie around my neck! After 9 months of building up my desk, I was promoted to the position of Team Leader in 2007.

After 3 years with Connex, I made the decision to take some time out and go travelling around the world for 12 months. But sure enough, when I returned to the UK in 2011, I was kindly offered the opportunity to build up the central London office working as a Nursery Development Manager.

Since then, my career has developed from strength to strength, and I’ve been given all the tools I need to achieve.

Simply inspired! Thanks very much for spending the day with us Richard!

If you would like to find out more about what it’s like to work at Connex Education, click here. Alternatively, you can call our office today on: 0845 266 0650