Fife Council are closer to having enough staff for the expansion of early learning and child care.
More than 180 early years officers have been recruited through modern apprentice schemes since 2016, with many of them now working for the council.
The Scottish Government announced an expansion to free early learning and child care up to 1140 hours a year – up from 660.
Fife Council has been working on recruiting staff and expanding nurseries to make sure there is enough space for the scheme when it starts in August 2020.
Fife Council recently removed an age barrier for modern apprenticeships to attract a wider range of candidates, from a variety of backgrounds, saying that “mature people, previously blocked from applying, can bring a great many skills, knowledge and experience to the post”.
Also, as traditionally this career has appealed to mainly females, in a bid to attract more males, Fife Council used male employees in the promotional videos and photographs of the recruitment campaign.
This seems to have had a positive outcome because there are now 27 males employed in the sector.
Councillor Fay Sinclair, convener of the education and children’s services committee, said: “I’d like to congratulate all the apprentices who have successfully qualified.
“This fantastic apprenticeship allowed them to earn their qualification while working and gaining valuable experience to grow their career. Fife Council will still need to recruit more Early Year’s Officers to meet the projected demand and we will be recruiting more apprentices in the Spring.”
Shannon McMurchie, a recently qualified Early Years Officer, said: “Being in the nursery environment every day gave me such a great work experience. It let me build strong relationships with the children and families which is such a key element to the role.”