The childcare industry focuses on ensuring the safety and, in many cases, the education of children in various stages of development. In order to work in this field, a candidate must first build the qualifications necessary to become a certified professional. A childcare trainee is a person who is learning the skills and techniques necessary to be successful in the field, often after having earned an associate's or bachelor's degree in childhood development or education. The childcare trainee can have many different responsibilities depending on the setting in which he or she works.
Some of those responsibilities may include educating children, providing general care for safety and comfort, and even doing paperwork or attending meetings regarding one or more specific children. The childcare trainee will always work under the direct guidance and supervision of a more knowledgeable childcare professional to ensure both the safety of the children and the quality of education for the trainee. The traineeship can last anywhere from one year to several years, and during this time the childcare trainee may be responsible for taking and passing various certification exams. In many parts of the world, the trainee must also obtain a fingerprint clearance card in order to work directly with children.
Sometimes the childcare trainee may be given certain duties pertinent to a particular childcare setting. The trainee may, for example, be responsible for driving a transport vehicle that picks up or drops off children at home or school. The trainee may work toward earning a food handler's license that allows him or her to prepare food safely for the children under his or her care. All of these duties will be undertaken while supervised; the childcare trainee will rarely, if ever, work alone with children, as this may be considered unsafe or even illegal in some settings.
Very often a student in college will become a childcare trainee in order to fulfill a graduation requirement. Students graduating from childhood education or development degree programs will need to have practical experience working with children, so very often the trainee is still a student and may work limited hours. Trainee positions are generally considered part time positions, and while some of these jobs will offer payment, others are considered non-paying internships. Some schools will outline how many hours the student needs to spend as a trainee, while others may leave that up to the employer who hires the trainee.