Hear from the community: Olivia Corbin-Phillips shares her experience of Childcare & Education Expo
30th June 2022
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By Olivia Corbin-Phillip – Stories with Liv
For me the Childcare & Education Expo has played a big part in shifting my relationship with the Early Years sector, given me the confidence and knowledge to strive for better and ultimately, stay in childcare.
I first heard about The Expo on LinkedIn. I was sorting out my profile in an attempt to find another job, I was torn between my passion for early years and the never-ending strain I was under at work. I was eager to embark on CPD and broaden my horizons, but I felt like the odd one out for wanting that. The Childcare & Education Expo advertised seminars, networking opportunities and workshop – I’d never seen anything of nature in the early years world, in fact I’d never had any opportunities to network and chat with anyone within the sector other than the colleagues at my own setting. I was stuck wondering if anyone was as enthusiastic about the work we do and the importance of it, or if I was to follow the path of many that have loved and lost within the sector and taken the move to go into teaching. I figured that going to the expo would help me make up my mind: was there somewhere out there for me, or was it time to jump ship?
My first WOW moment came to me in the Panel Discussion on day one of the London Expo, it was titled ‘Challenging our Perspective on Education’ with four influential speakers leading the discussion, offering the opportunity for visitors to ask questions and give their opinions. I felt lucky to be part of the conversation and if I’m being honest, it was a cathartic experience for me. I felt like I had a voice that was being heard and that people wanted to hear what I had to say. A member of the panel reminded me that I was “not just a practitioner” and that my work mattered. To say I walked away from this discussion feeling inspired would be an understatement, it added fuel to the fire in my belly and I left feeling determined to make the most of what the Expo had to offer me. I spent the rest of the day chatting to others within the sector, from consultants and practitioners to managers and business owners. Each person had a different perspective to offer me on my dilemma, and I am grateful for how each of those people weighed in many months later.
I spent the rest of my first Expo soaking up every opportunity I could. I sat chatting to strangers whilst painting rocks in the Mindfulness Zone, bought new resources, attended seminars on my favourite areas and joined in live workshops (most notably a phonics workshop from Hammond Education who completely shifted my outlook on approaching stage one phonics with my pre-schoolers).
I found out that the more you give, the more you get – the Childcare & Education Expo is a one stop shop for what is otherwise missing within the sector: face-to-face opportunities to see resources up close and personal, meet new employers, meet special guests and meet others within the community.
Luckily my journey didn’t end there, and I attended the Expo North in Bolton this month as a Brand Ambassador. I loved the Bolton Expo even more than the first, the seminars on offer were truly hard to choose from as every single speaker delivered important and sought-after subject matters to the Seminar Theatre. I met practitioners and consultants that I’d connected with on Instagram, and we put the world to rights over cups of tea between workshops. I squeezed in as many seminars as I could, between browsing the exhibitors and taking time out in the Mindfulness Zone – particularly good after a seminar or workshop if you need a moment to process everything you’ve learnt!
This time round I attended with colleagues, because attending the Childcare & Education Expo helped me gain a new role in a company I love and within a management team that is as passionate as I am. I’ve found my tribe – my experience at the event gave me faith in the Early Years sector and the confidence to fight for what is right. I can’t wait to do it all again in September.
Childcare & Education Expo Midlands is back, returning to the Coventry Building Society Arena on the 23rd – 24th September 2022. Join the early years and primary education community and experience the magic of caring for and educating children first-hand. See you there!
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Why attend Childcare & Education Expo?
Join over 2,500 like-minded individuals from the early years & primary sector who are dedicated to improving their practice and their education settings.
Attend educational seminars and panel discussions to credit your CPD
Meet the experts to have your questions answered
Receive fantastic onsite offers and discounts
Experience expert-led informative hands-on workshops
Network with peers and industry players
Pick up hundreds of new products, resources, ideas and services
And most of all, enjoy a great day out with your colleagues