This paper seeks to identify the impact of the undergraduate Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT) qualification on the emerging professional identity of a group of undergraduate students. The research explored the practical and academic self-concepts of the trainee practitioners together with wider societal perspectives gained through an examination of the associated policy context. The research data was transcribed and a process of sorting, coding and analysis was undertaken at several levels to form constructs, a thematic framework was then utilised to organise the data. Findings indicate that, in failing to establish full parity between those who hold the title ‘Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS)’ and school teachers with ‘Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)’, the government has restricted the potential employability of EYTS, and their access to equality in pay and conditions, which causes confusion as to the status and role of the EYT. These factors, together with the absence of a related professional body, and a persistent government rhetoric which implies deficiencies in the quality of the ECEC workforce, have the potential to cause a dichotomy between the perceptions of professionalism in policy, theory and practice.