DEVELOPMENT worker Sam Nixon thought life was hectic when she looked after 36 staff and 70 children but life has just got even harder.

Sam, of Waterfoot, is working her way up the career ladder and is now responsible for 110 independent day nurseries across Lancashire.

But despite moving onwards and upward, Sam puts her success down to the support she received from Oscar Bear's Childcare Centre in Accrington and ELTEC.

She was area manager of the centre but has now taken her profession one step further as development worker for the Early Years Developmet Childcare Partnership with the National Day Nurseries Association. She developed her managerial skills on ELTEC's NVQ5 management programme.

Sam said: "Working towards the NVQ5 has helped Oscar Bears to develop as an organisation and the investment has paid off in the long-term as my progression has released resources at the centre and given staff an insight into management techniques."

Oscar Bears also has nurseries in Whalley and Blackburn and it was through Investors in People that Sam decided to undertake the NVQ.

She said: "I oversaw the management of the Investors in People process and realised that I could develop some of my project management skills through the NVQ5 route. I worked on developing a business plan for the opening of a new children's play centre in Bolton, which really helped me with my financial and analytical skills."

Sam's role includes looking at the development of new nurseries, supporting and advising managers of independent nurseries and schools, dealing with colleges and TECs across Lancashire and developing appraisals for nurseries.

She said: "The NVQ5 has given me the confidence to realise my management potential and has allowed me to progress with my profession."