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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-15854: Willie Rennie (North East Fife)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 10 April 2018

To ask the Scottish Government what initiatives it has launched since 2014-15 to attract people to the early learning and childcare profession, broken down by the (a) target recruitment figure set and (b) number of people recruited.

Answered by: Maree Todd 8 May 2018

The Scottish Government estimates up to 11,000 additional early learning and childcare (ELC) workers will be required to meet the demands of ELC expansion. In order to attract those additional staff we are working with delivery partners on a range of initiatives, all of which will contribute to the collective recruitment effort. These include:

  • Our national recruitment campaign, which includes advertising across multiple advertising channels in order to ensure messages are delivered to the target audiences. Our advertising encourages people to apply to training or work opportunities, but also addresses societal misconceptions around the ELC sector.
  • Our advertising for phase one of the national recruitment campaign focussed on school leavers and has been supported by a programme of field events, involving roadshows in schools across the country and activity at all three Skills Scotland national career events. The roadshows directly engaged over 5,000 pupils, encouraging them to apply to training opportunities.
  • We work with colleagues in local authorities to adapt the national recruitment campaign for local needs and to support local initiatives, such as jobs fairs or sectoral information events.
  • We are working with colleagues in Skills Development Scotland to ensure the number of Modern Apprenticeships available for the ELC sector is increased by 10% year on year up to 2020. Data for 2017-18 (the first year of this commitment) will be available shortly.
  • Funding will be available to ensure that all childcare workers delivering funded ELC will be paid the “real” Living Wage from 2020. We are working with a range of delivery partners to ensure new pathways are opened up to enter the sector, in particular for those furthest from the labour market. For example, Glasgow City Council are piloting a new pathway for refugees to join the sector, and Perth and Kinross are exploring innovative ways to recruit males in to ELC. These are new initiatives which may only recruit small numbers of people to the sector, hence no particular targets are set for how many they will directly recruit to the sector. These examples indicate that we are pursuing every avenue to ensure the required workforce is in place for 2020.
  • Local authorities, as commissioners and providers of their early learning and childcare services, have individual recruitment requirements in line with their local delivery plans. National recruitment initiatives will facilitate the recruitment of additional staff via local authorities and their funded partners. A full monitoring and evaluation framework for the early learning and childcare workforce expansion will be in place this summer.