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Training Fund Announcement

November 18, 2013

Early Childhood Ireland welcomes Minister Frances Fitzgerald’s announcement today of the allocation of €900,000 in funding to support Level 5 and Level 6 training programmes for those already working in the early childhood care and education care sector, which will be supplemented by a further €1.5 million in 2014.

Welcoming the announcement today, Irene Gunning, CEO of Early Childhood Ireland said:

“It’s full steam ahead pre-Christmas with this new element of our Level 5 and 6 training schedule and we are thrilled to be in a position to deliver this programme which is fully accessible to participants right around the country through a combination of our online and classroom based learning.

“We’ve been working around the clock to make sure this is ready to go live once participants meet the criteria and are signed up.  There is an inherent demand in the sector for this training spurred on by the deadline of September 2015 when all staff in preschool and full day care services must have a Level 5 qualification and team leaders must have a Level 6 qualification (or equivalent).

“We’ve been calling for a training transformation fund like this, on behalf of our members, for some time as a pathway to building quality in the sector and developing the workforce. We have been in consultation with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) about the rollout of essential training and we will continue to beat this drum into the future, as there is a lot of catching up to do and people working in the sector must be supported and encouraged towards better qualifications.

“I want to reassure those considering applying that while some of these programmes do not finish until after the deadline of September 2015, we have been assured by DCYA that exceptions will be made for these groups.

“We are asking candidates to visit our website for the criteria and application form.  Based on the number of enquiries we’ve had already, there is huge demand for this training before the end of the year and into 2014 and beyond.

“This announcement is a significant step in the right direction for a sector that has been underfunded and unappreciated for years.  Early Childhood Ireland has been urging this government to move towards an investment model of 1% of GDP to catch up on our European partners and to give the early years sector the priority it deserves.  We have already defined the most challenging issues for the sector, in our pre-budget submission, as:

1.    Increasing investment in early childhood

2.    Developing the workforce

3.    Building quality in the sector

4.    Shaping competent systems across inspection, registration and funding schemes

5.    Reforming legislation in relation to childminding and school age childcare

“While Minister Fitzgerald has been a champion in leading the charge towards a stronger early years sector, we still lag behind the European average of 1% of GDP investment in early years.

“Furthermore, the burden on parents in terms of how childcare is paid for needs to be addressed, as well as the very low pay scales for staff in the early childhood care and education sector where higher qualifications do not result in higher remuneration.  And this, as well as the low pay scale averaging €10.50 per hour for those with Level 5 qualifications must be addressed.”

Ends.

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