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The DfE’s new Early Years Careers initiative. What is it and how will it impact the sector?

In an effort to invest in the future of our children and promote the importance of Early Years education, the government has launched “Do Something Big”, an ambitious campaign for Early Years careers in 2024. This campaign aims to attract passionate individuals to join the Early Years workforce, providing them with the necessary support, training, and resources to make a positive impact on young children’s lives. In this blog, we will explore the key objectives and initiatives of this campaign and discuss the significance of Early Years careers in shaping the lives of the next generation.

Campaign Objectives

Attracting and recruiting talented individuals: The 2024 government campaign aims to attract talented individuals to join the Early Years workforce. This includes individuals who have a passion for working with young children or those who are seeking a rewarding career change. A comprehensive recruitment drive will be launched as part of the campaign, highlighting the diverse career opportunities available within the Early Years sector.

The government’s job board, which can be seen here, is an integral part of the campaign, aiming to connect aspiring practitioners with a wide range of job opportunities in the Early Years sector. In support of this campaign, eyworks have recently added the job board to our list of job board integrations on eyrecruit, a dedicated applicant tracking system for the Early Years sector.

Promoting professional development and training: To ensure the highest quality of care and education for young children, the campaign will focus on providing continuous professional development and training opportunities for Early Years practitioners. This will include specialised training programs, mentorship schemes, and access to resources that enhance their knowledge and skills.

Improving support systems for Early Years practitioners: Recognising the challenges faced by Early Years practitioners, the government campaign will prioritise improving support systems. This includes increasing funding for Early Years settings, enhancing working conditions, and offering mental health and well-being support for workers. By providing a conducive environment, practitioners will thrive in their roles and deliver their best to the young children in their care.

Raising public awareness and appreciation: The campaign aims to raise public awareness and appreciation for the vital work carried out by those in Early Years roles. By showcasing success stories and highlighting the impact of education even at this young age, the public will better understand the importance of investing in quality Early Years care and education.

Initiatives and Programs

Early Years career pathways: The government campaign will introduce clear and diverse career pathways within the Early Years sector. This will include opportunities for progression, such as leadership positions and specialised roles. By presenting a clear career trajectory, the campaign aims to attract individuals who are seeking long-term growth and development from their next role.

Investment in training and resources: A substantial investment will be made in training and resources for Early Years practitioners. This will include funding for accredited qualifications, access to online training modules, and the development of comprehensive resource libraries. This investment will make the sector more attractive to potential recruits, as it provides support and opportunities for professional development.

Partnerships with higher education institutions: The government will establish partnerships with higher education institutions to develop specialised degree programs in Early Years education. These programs will offer aspiring Early Years practitioners the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge and practical experience, preparing them for a successful career in the field.

Engagement with parents and communities: The campaign will actively engage with parents and communities to promote the importance of Early Years education. This will include community events, parent workshops, and information sessions that highlight the benefits of quality Early Years care and education. By involving parents and communities, a collaborative effort can be made towards nurturing every child’s potential.

Realities of Achieving the Objectives

The 2024 government campaign for Early Years careers is an exciting opportunity to address the challenges faced by the sector. Whilst there is a real shortage of qualified practitioners and limited resources for the campaign, the government is likely to face many hurdles.. However, by acknowledging these realities, the government can work towards finding innovative solutions.

To ensure the success of the campaign, substantial investments are needed in training, resources and support for practitioners. Adequate funding will help alleviate challenges such as high workloads, low pay, and inadequate support systems and by prioritising these areas, the government can create a more supportive and flourishing environment for Early Years practitioners.

In addition, raising public awareness about the importance of Early Years education is crucial. This shift in perception requires a collaborative effort involving policymakers, sector leaders, and the public. By emphasising the significance of Early Years education and valuing the work of practitioners, the government can foster a greater understanding and appreciation for the people in the sector and their impact on our children’s development.

While these objectives may require long-term and sustained effort, the 2024 government campaign for Early Years careers feels like a good starting point and has the potential to make a significant impact.

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