Apadmi invests in new childcare disruptor: Student Nannies

After experiencing the difficulty of finding regular, responsible childcare herself, Tracey Blake, freelance journalist and busy working mum, decided to tackle the problem herself – she set up Student Nannies. This new digital platform pairs university students who seek fulfilling part-time work, with parents in need of flexible, personalised childcare.

Power to the parents

Their unique proposition is the skills and interests of its Student Nannies, with parents able to seek out students studying subjects their child loves or needs extra help with. The beauty being that these students can help parents to manage school pick-ups, fun after-school activities, homework and tutoring all wrapped up in one! Meanwhile, the students can work flexible hours to suit their routines and use their life experience and subject knowledge to help the child’s development and awareness – a far more meaningful part-time job. It’s a win-win for both parties.

A solution to childcare

Howard Simms, Chief Partnerships Officer, commented: “Tracey’s created a solution to a very real problem – the childcare crisis – and it’s been fantastic to work in partnership with her and the rest of the Student Nannies team.”

“We get a lot of entrepreneurs approach us for investment, but her drive and ambition really stood out to us. Plus, the genuine need for this platform makes it exactly the kind of market disruptor we love to get involved with – and what a city to launch in! Manchester’s booming tech scene, talented students and wealth of business professionals in need of flexible childcare, make it the ideal place for the next phase of their launch.”

Why Manchester?

Student Nannies first launched in London, but when it came for Tracey to decide where next, Manchester was the obvious destination.

September 2019, they joined forces with Apadmi Ventures, and began to improve the local Childcare Crisis by launching their campaign in the northern powerhouse, and amassing over 300 students in the first few weeks alone.

An alternative for students

Instead of finding the usual part-time jobs in bars and shops, students have favoured the flexible, intuitive solution of nannying, which alleviates the financial pressures they’re under – they can earn while they learn.

Initially, we were responsible for rejuvenating the existing Student Nannies website and overhauling the interface. More recently, we’ve added the book and pay function into the system, and identified a new commission-based model in addition to the current subscription service, providing flexibility for users in how they interact with the service. Tracey believes that Student Nannies can help bridge this childcare gap by creating a student army to help parents struggling to find support. We met up with Tracey during the Manchester launch campaign to chat about the solution.

“The response from students in Manchester has been phenomenal and has blown us all away – we’ve signed up so much talent from virtuoso musicians to linguists, zoologists and football coaches, and we’re adding new students to the platform every day. Plus our bright, energetic Student Nannies are young role models children will look up to and actually want to spend time with - let's face it, they're way cooler than us parents!” Tracey Blake - CEO & Founder of Student Nannies

The childcare crisis in Manchester

With so many people employed in Manchester’s business sector and so many of these being parents, the need for flexible and modern childcare has increased dramatically, yet the availability of childcare places and funding has dramatically plummeted.

We’re reaching a point of no control, and the industry is currently facing a number of problems.

Insufficient after-school childcare – In a recent Childcare Survey from The Family & Childcare Trust, they revealed that only 76% of local authorities in the North West have enough childcare for parents working full-time – leaving a quarter of families without access to support. The survey also showed that 57% of councils have insufficient after-school childcare for 5-11-year-olds.

Childcare providers are struggling to cope – The 30 free hours of childcare on offer and the underfunding that centres are facing is leading to closures due to staff shortages and funding struggles. Less childcare is readily available and parents are struggling to cope. Brexit’s bombshell – Due to the uncertainty that Brexit has brought about and the devastating effects of the recent terrorist attacks across the UK, there has been a ‘75% slump in the number of young Europeans willing to work as au pairs’. This has developed numerous problems for parents when trying to find an affordable childcare solution. Thanks to Student Nannies, parents and students can now work together to find the perfect childcare solution that not only fits around work commitments, but also gives something back.

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