Oh yes, that dreaded word… Recruitment! It has really been a tough few years for Early Years when it comes to recruitment. The sector has been struggling to recruit and the reasons are vast. When I worked in settings, we regularly celebrated team members being in post for 10 years; how amazing is that… Does that still happen?

There are many reasons the sector lacks good, qualified staff and here are a few that spring to mind…

The Pay

It has become apparent that places like Lidl and Aldi offer hourly rates of over £10 an hour at entry level without any qualifications! Can we compete with that when we are facing increases in utility bills but not in funding fees?? It is sad to think we could lose some of our best practitioners to supermarkets.

The Stress

The recruitment problem is causing a lack of practitioners in our settings, adding extra stress to those still working in the sector. It means they have more key children, adding masses to their workload. Plus, they have to do extra hours or miss out on lunch breaks to cover ratio. Do you think they have this stress in the supermarkets? I don’t know; maybe they do??

The Hours

There is no denying that we do long hours in Early Years; when offering wrap-around care to parents, the staff need to be there for the children. I have seen settings change this by offering 4-day weeks or working out shifts so that staff don’t have to work 8-6… If you can facilitate it, I think it’s a great way to keep your practitioners; a good work-life balance is so important.

The Training

Although it is amazing for staff to receive training and be encouraged to develop their CPD, this training often takes place outside of working hours. This puts a bit of a downer on the training, but we want the team to feel excited and motivated by it, but when it’s happening 6 pm – 8 pm or on their weekends, they are just not feeling it. I know it’s not always feasible to close for a training day but we recently provided training for a setting on a weekday, they closed the nursery and the whole team attended the whole day! It was incredible, there was a real buzz around the training and it certainly got me thinking… If it adds IMPACT, is it not worth doing? If the pros outweigh the cons?

The pressures of Early Years are HUGE; there is no wonder our teams are flagging and jumping off the bus, it is sad and we need to work on turning the tables and getting more team not only through the door but also staying!! We have a shared passion for helping to raise the little people of our future… Let’s keep that passion alive and focus on bringing it back to Early Years; let’s invest in our teams, listen to what they have to say and support their well-being 💜