Childcare training places increased at Scottish universities and colleges

children in a nursery
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Scottish ministers want to create "a highly skilled, diverse and dedicated" childcare workforce

Childcare training places are to be increased in Scottish universities and colleges, according to ministers.

The move is to help provide workers required for early learning and childcare demand.

The Scottish government has highlighted the need for a well-trained workforce to ensure children get "the best possible start in life".

Funded Early Learning and Childcare places will be nearly doubled in the new plans.

Maree Todd, Minister for Childcare and Early Years, said: "The near doubling of funded Early Learning and Childcare to ensure all children get the best possible start in life is a key priority for this government.

"Expansion plans are now well under way to deliver this ambitious policy.

"In the coming year, the number of places for people to train in early learning qualifications at colleges and universities will significantly increase."

In 2018/19, the Scottish government wants to train an additional 1,813 new starts for HNC college and university. It is also seeking an additional 490 places at managerial level.

This will be split between 388 BA Childhood Practice places at universities and 102 PDA places at colleges.

This compares to an additional 650 practitioner level HNC courses and 350 managerial level courses.

Recruitment campaign

In October 2017, the Scottish government launched a drive to increase the numbers of childcare workers.

The campaign aims to recruit 11,000 people into childcare in Scotland, and encourage more school leavers into the profession to support government plans to expand early learning and childcare.

Ministers aim to expand funded childcare to 1,140 hours per year, or 30 hours per week, by 2020.

Ms Todd added: "We know that the earliest years of life are crucial in every child's life, and the evidence tells us that if our early learning and childcare offer is to help give children the best start in life and contribute to closing the poverty-related attainment gap, it has to be of high quality.

"That is why we are determined to create a highly skilled, diverse and dedicated workforce, to ensure that quality is at the heart of our expansion plans."