A CHILDMINDER is celebrating after expanding her business.
Mum Sonia Graham started Village Childcare 18 months ago, after a change of career.
The 38-year-old, who used to work as a college information officer, has just taken on her second employee, apprentice Michaela McCormack.
Mrs Graham converted part of her home in Cleadon Village into a large playroom and within eight months of opening for business, she had a waiting list for pre-school places.
The success allowed her to take on an assistant childminder.
Mrs Graham completed an online course with North East Childcare Training, to get a Level 3 Diploma in Children and Young People’s Workforce, and would recommend it to others thinking of a change.
She said: “Retraining to be a childminder was a great move for me. Doing the course online meant I could fit it around my busy family life, and the job also complements my home life routine.
“The support I received from my training adviser has been invaluable. Both of my staff were unemployed before I took them on, so I feel very proud to be able to give two young people prospects and a start on the career ladder.”
Her two employees were also trained by North East Childcare Training and the company’s director Sheila Turnbull is proud to help women get back into work.
She added: “We have worked with lots of childminders to help them set up their own businesses and many have gone on to take on apprentices.”