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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-15053: Michelle Ballantyne (South Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 7 March 2018

To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to the concerns raised in the Care Inspectorate report, Scotland’s Early Learning and Childcare – Report on the progress of expanded provision during 2015-16, regarding the private sector’s ability to recruit and retain staff, and how these issues will impact on meeting its target of providing 1,140 hours per year of free childcare by 2020.

Answered by: Maree Todd 19 March 2018

The Scottish Government is taking forward a programme of actions to assist and support delivery partners in the recruitment and training of a high quality, diverse workforce to meet the needs of the ELC expansion.

We have boosted ELC related capacity in colleges and universities, with 650 additional HNCs and 350 graduate level places made available in 2017-18; and increased ELC Modern Apprenticeships by 10%. These actions will benefit private providers of ELC.

We will build on this in 2018-19 by providing over 1,700 additional HNC and over 400 additional graduate places; and a further 10% increase in ELC Modern Apprenticeships. We have also increased contribution rates for all apprenticeships in the sector, making them more attractive to employers.

In order to raise awareness of career and training opportunities across the ELC sector, we launched the first phase of our national recruitment marketing campaign, aimed at school leavers, in October 2017. Phase two of the campaign, which will focus on an audience of career-changers and parental returners, is under development and will launch in the coming months.

Fair pay is also at the heart of our plans and we will provide additional funding to enable payment of the Living Wage to all childcare staff delivering the funded entitlement by 2020.