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03Nov

"Early Years settings have liked the quality of candidates Class Recruit supply since 2009."

As experts in the field of Early Years recruitment, the quality of candidates Class Recruit supply is the critical element in maintaining happy clients.

Providing superb candidates to a variety of Early Years settings across the South West has also been a vital factor in the agency's growth since launching in 2009 in Bristol.

This week, we're interviewing agency founder and Director Karen Howe to find out more about the position Class Recruit occupies in the Early Years recruitment sector, and why the business is growing in demand.

When and why did you set up Class Recruit?

"In February 2009 I met Paul to find out more about recruitment company BRC and what opportunities were available. At that time, I was working for a large corporate recruitment company where I'd been for six years, specialising in Education recruitment."

"After an initial discussion, we decided to explore the option of setting up a recruitment agency in Bristol specialising in Early Years. The rest is history."

What was your background prior to Class Recruit?

"I completed a degree in Catering & Hospitality and started on a Graduate Scheme as a recruitment specialist in Education, where I stayed for six years."

How did you get the first nursery client on board for Class Recruit?

"Once we had launched in 2009 we visited several Early Years settings and they chose to work with us."

"They liked the quality of candidates we supplied and that we are open, honest and helpful. This reputation has remained the same since 2009."

"We source our candidates from a variety of places. We advertise on job boards such as Indeed, on our own website and on Facebook."

"We also have our own database of candidates who have previously worked for us, and they often come back. Candidates come to us from recommendations, and we also attend local job and career fairs too."

What's changed from 2009 to 2021?

"The world of Early Years recruitment is constantly changing which keeps it interesting and challenging.

"We've seen changes in safeguarding, education curriculums, Government policies and much more in the last 12 years. The availability of qualified candidates has fluctuated over the years, and we have evolved to meet the demands."

What impact did Covid-19 have on the sector?

"When the first lockdown was announced, we virtually closed our doors overnight. As things started opening, we were in touch with our clients and as more people returned to work the busier we became again."

"Sadly, due to the pandemic we have seen many qualified, experienced practitioners leave the Early Years sector and it can be a challenge to entice people to stick long-term to a career in Early Years.

"As a leading Early Years recruitment agency providing candidates across Bristol, Bath, Somerset and Wiltshire, we are busier than ever, although many Early Years settings and nurseries are struggling to recruit Early Years staff."

How has Class Recruit grown since 2009?

"We initially started working with settings in the Bristol area and over time expanded to cover the entire South West. This has been largely due to our client base - as they open new settings, we also find ourselves working in new areas on their behalf."

What issues does the Early Years sector currently face?

"It can be a challenge attracting people who want to work within the Early Years sector."

"There are generally no benefits such as sick pay in Early Years, and I passionately believe that growth in the Early Years sector is dependent on more investment in the staff with training and development, sick pay, fair pay, and a structured career path."

"As a sector, Early Years practitioners need more recognition for their contribution and the value they bring to the lives of the children and the settings they work in. 

"Practitioners could be encouraged to stay in their role for the long-term with the right support to develop within their career."

Why did you choose Bristol, Bath, Somerset & Wiltshire to operate in?

"We opened our office in Clifton and have gradually moved out from Bristol, to Bath, and then further afield. We are looking at new areas all the time."

What predictions do you have for the Early Years sector in 2022?

"Having adapted to the ever-changing situation of the pandemic in 2021, I predict that Early Years settings will continue to be mindful of infection control, and will be able to adjust to any changes quickly, such as new Covid outbreaks."

"With the changes to the EYFS in September 2021, I predict that practitioners will find it easier and quicker to monitor children's learning and development goals in practice."

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

"Working in the Early Years sector can be super fun, really rewarding, and it is an opportunity to have a job that makes a real difference."

"However, to work in this sector you must love it, as it demands bags of energy and stamina to keep up with the busy days!"

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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