Trailblazers to create new early years apprenticeship standard


A new apprenticeship standard for Level 2 early years practitioners is to be developed to drive recruitment in the sector.

The Level 2 Early Years Trailblazer Group, set up to lead a sector consultation launched last Friday, aims to give unqualified childcare staff a pathway to progress their careers.

The group, appointed by the Institute for Apprentices and Technical Education (IfATE), aims to have the new standard in place by September this year.

The consultation will gather views to ensure that the standard meets the training needs of the sector and raises the quality of early years provision across the country.

The launch follows the Level 3 Early Years Standard being approved for delivery in April, after years of delays, including following the sacking of the initial trailblazer group charged with drawing up the standard.

The group is made up of a wide range of employers and other organisations to ensure the new standard meets the needs of the sector as a whole.

They include Council for Awards in Care, Health and Education (Cache), representative organisation the Early Years Alliance, as well as providers Kids Planets Day Nurseries, Kids Allowed, London Early Years Foundation, Each Peach Childcare, Paint Pots Nursery, Happy Tree Ltd, Just Childcare Ltd, Childbase Partnership, Ashbourne Day Nurseries and Sky High Achievers. 

Cache director Julie Hyde said that the Level 2 Early Years practitioner apprenticeship standard will be a "key driver" in improving the recruitment and retention of practitioners.

"It's been identified that gaps in sector-specific skills were highest for staff qualified to Level 2 or below.

"By developing this standard with the needs of employers at the forefront, we can overcome these challenges and provide a clear progression route for practitioners."

Michael Freeston, director of quality improvement at the Early Years Alliance, who will be the group's employer chair, said that while the Level 3 Early Years Standard is now operational, it is "only part of the picture" of creating a high-quality workforce.

He added: "It's essential that the Level 2 Standard is in place by September this year."

"I encourage all involved with workforce development in our sector to respond to the consultation."

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