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24Mar

What are the main issues for the Early Years sector in the South West?

At Class Recruit, our team of specialist recruitment consultants keep a close eye on the main issues for the Early Years sector in the South West.

And having been one of the leading providers of nursery agency jobs in Bristol, Bath, Somerset and Wiltshire since 2009 we are well-placed to provide tips and advice on how to overcome some of the current issues.

since the end of the Covid-19 lockdown, our team of consultants has seen an increase in demand for Early Years practitioners and Early years staff across multiple positions in locations around Bristol, Bath, Somerset and Wiltshire.

Before the pandemic hit, we were seeing people leaving the sector with the impact of Brexit being one of the reasons given.

The Government began an initiative a few years ago to upskill the Early Years workforce across the country.

To secure a place for Level 3 training in the Early Years, candidates needed to hold GCSEs in English and Maths at grade C or higher. This has now been removed as a requirement.

This can be viewed as a good thing because it means the cohort of students per year group is smaller than in previous years, so those students get more support with their studies and often went on to study at Higher Education rather than leaving education at 18.

For the Early Years sector in Bristol and the wider South West, however, it has meant fewer newly-qualified practitioners looking for work in the region.

In the past, settings would have offered students on placements a job at the end of their courses.

Another issue in the Early Years sector we're seeing becoming more evident at Class Recruit is that many people are re-evaluating their lives after Covid-19 and are looking for a better work-life balance.

Many candidates are opting for a four-day working week instead of the traditional five days per week.

Candidates in 2022 are also looking more closely at how well Early Years settings look after them and what benefits are on offer.

Some candidates have permanently left the sector for higher salaries, better benefits and more flexible working hours in alternative work sectors.

Staffing in some Early Years settings has reached a critically low level.

Historically, some settings would only use Early Years recruitment agencies to cover planned holidays, last-minute sickness, a notice period or similar events.

Our Early Years recruiters are now seeing settings utilising us to ensure they can remain open in light of ongoing practitioner shortages.

This stress has a knock-on effect on staff well-being in the sector as well as settings at times struggling to provide best-practice and carry on continual professional development skills with leaders within the sector.

At times, it is a case of firefighting to simply make up staff numbers in some nurseries.

Another issue in Early Years settings has been the capping of child numbers.

This will have a massive impact on our job market moving through 2022 and could lead to staff shortages in other sectors over time.

As leading providers of candidates to Early Years settings in Bristol, Bath, Somerset and Wiltshire since 2009, the team at Class Recruit recommend a few of the following measures that could be taken to resolve some of the issues:

More recognition - the Early Education sector is critical, and more recognition in the sector with increased investment and more funding being available so that leaders and managers can develop staff, attract staff, improve working conditions, introduce better resources and give more staff benefits.

More attractive - it is important to make the Early Years sector more attractive to work in, so candidates are drawn in and choose to stay in settings. This will help a quality workforce to stay. If there are more learning and development opportunities, better training, more benefits, higher recognition for the actual work, and roles that balance work and life.

More change - the Early Years sector is continually changing, and staff need to be able to seek further training and update their knowledge to meet these changes. Best practice must be implemented for children's benefit and their Early Years learning experiences. Increased training is possible with sufficient staff numbers in settings.

To find out more about the resources we provide our candidates, please visit here.

To see what our Early Years settings expect from the Class Recruit team, please visit here

We recommend that you read this if you're looking for nursery jobs in Bristol. 

Those who already have relevant industry experience and qualifications, and who are looking for permanent nursery agency work in Bristol, Bath, Somerset or Wiltshire, please visit here.

We are always available to have an informal chat with new or experienced nursery job candidates and can be reached on 0117 930 4000 or by visiting here.

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