Nursery plans to create new jobs

400 new staff are needed.
400 new staff are needed.

A total of 400 new staff are needed in Fife to support the expansion of early learning and childcare (ELC) provisions.

As part of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, the Scottish Government increased the number of hours funded in ELC from 475 to 600 in August 2014.

To implement this by the 2020 deadline, a report presented at the Education and Child Services committee heard that 400 new staff members will need to be trained.

Clark Graham, early years workforce development co-ordinator for Fife Council, said: “We have been working on several new ways to achieve this.

“Working with Fife College, we have seen capacity increased on the early learning HNC from 100 to 164.

“We have an ongoing modern apprentice programme, which takes on 25 new apprentices every quarter.”

The interest in modern apprentice places has been high, with over 670 applicants for the 25 places.

He added: “We also lifted the age barrier for our modern apprentices to allow those over the age of 25 to join the programme.

“We are anticipating that we will have enough staff, who will be phased in between now and 2020.”

But Cllr Kathleen Leslie, Conservative, Burntisland, Kinghorn and Western Kirkcaldy, said that the feedback from the college hadn’t been positive.

She added: “I have been told that the delivery is challenging and that the drop out rate higher than usual.”

Mr Graham said that he was aware of these issues, adding: “We do know the HNC is only being offered over three campuses this year.

“We are in regular communication with Fife College which has told us it is looking at different ways to offer the course, such as night classes, to allow those who maybe are already in the work force to study part time or develop over a longer time.”

Mr Graham said that they were also keen to attract a diverse workforce, adding that they were especially looking at hiring more men.