Ensuring members of the children's workforce have the right training, qualifications and ongoing professional development is vital to ensure the best possible outcomes for children, young people and families. Budget cuts continue to bite - with an inevitable effect on workforce development - but against this backdrop, efforts to reform qualifications and training continue.
The establishment of mental health teams in schools, with the potential to employ up to 8,000 people in the long term, is already leading to the development of new training and qualifications. The expansion of the Troubled Families programme, and the increased emphasis on commissioning as a career within children's services, have also prompted new training to meet the needs of a changing workforce. Other sectors are shrinking however, with falling numbers of teaching assistants, health visitors and school nurses.
In social care, new regulator Social Work England is set to take up the reins in 2019. A controversial assessment scheme is being tested this year, and a new social work apprenticeship provides an additional route into the sector.
The early years sector continues to face an unprecedented recruitment crisis. The publication of a workforce strategy last year has not had the effect many in the sector hoped for, with some of the commitments made in the strategy delayed or scrapped altogether. However, the development of new qualifications at Levels 2 and 3 and the launch of a new early years SENCO qualification are set to support professional development.