The early years sector is coming together to launch a wide-ranging research project to tackle the recruitment challenges it currently faces.

The “What is Early Years?” project will look at awareness and perceptions of early education and childcare across the generations. Building on discussions at a recent workforce roundtable hosted by Ceeda, the project will deliver insight into how the early years sector is perceived today and how best to communicate the rewards and benefits it offers in the future.

Previous research from Ceeda shows that one in four early years providers have hard-to-fill vacancies, treble the figure for all employers. As competition in the labour market intensifies, Ceeda says that urgent action is needed to increase the pool of talented individuals considering early years as their first-choice career.

Funded by the Childbase Partnership, Cache, Connect Childcare and the Early Years Alliance, the project will gather the views of:

  • the current early years workforce and sector employers (looking at reasons for entering childcare and why staff stay in the sector)

  • the wider labour market (adults in work, looking for work, caring for family full-time or in early retirement, etc)

  • future entrants to the labour market and those who influence them, such as school pupils, students, parents, careers advisers, and teachers.

Dr Jo Verrill, managing director of Ceeda, said:

“Great things happen when early years colleagues come together, with many brilliant ideas being discussed at our recent workforce roundtable. Thanks to the generosity and vision of project funders, we are thrilled to take forward this exciting project which will reveal how the sector can best communicate what it is, what it does, and what it has to offer people from a range of different backgrounds and circumstances. This is a vital first step towards a national communications campaign, and one which puts the sector firmly in the driving seat.”

Research for the project will begin in September and more information on getting involved can be found here.

Last reviewed 2 September 2019