Skills Development Scotland (SDS) has highlighted a need for Scotland’s Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) sector to attract a more diverse workforce to meet the expansion of funded ELC hours by 2020 and has today launched a new Skills Investment Plan for the sector.
Alongside other partners Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA) has been working with SDS to create a new national Early Learning and Childcare Skills Investment Plan (SIP), which aims to diversify the sector and meet future demands.
SDS Chief Executive, Damien Yeates said: “The Skills Investment Plan recognises that the Early Learning and Childcare sector has the ability to meet growing demand for a skilled workforce.
“There are challenges to meet to ensure growth at such an ambitious level in the sector and the Plan identifies areas that need to be addressed, such as the lack of flexible learning opportunities; a need to attract more candidates from diverse backgrounds and ensure the demand is met with the creation of a high quality skilled workforce.”
Anne Condie, Head of Childminding Services at SCMA, had a key role on the SIP steering group and ensured that childminding in Scotland was well represented. She said: “It is important that childminding is recognised and supported as a key part of the Early Learning and Childcare workforce.
“This is an exciting time for the sector as we move towards the expansion of funded hours from 600 to 1140 by 2020, and the SIP sets out the actions necessary to support the expansion of the workforce.
“SCMA is already working alongside SQA to develop our Complete Childminding Learning Pathway, which is due to be credit rated at Level 7 of the SCQ Framework from April 2018.”
The steering group has compiled an action plan to help navigate the challenges and help maximise opportunities by strengthening links between organisations to help them work more effectively together.
The focus of the SIP is to provide robust evidence of the current skills base and profile of the sector and give employers and stakeholders a clear direction on what it can do to attract a wider and more diverse range of high quality candidates in order to fuel its expansion.
Minister for Childcare and Early Years Maree Todd said: “The expansion of Early Learning and Childcare is a truly transformational policy and the quality and dedication of our current workforce is key to making Scotland the best place in the world to grow up.
“This Skills Investment Plan, developed by and for the industry, reflects the collaborative approach required to meet the future skills and workforce requirements of our expanded provision.”
READ | Take a look at the SIP
, published earlier today
WATCH | Hear from Anne Condie
as she speaks about the new SIP