July 2019

Childcare students shine as UCB seeks to address staffing 'crisis' in England nurseries

Read time: approx 3 mins

Childcare students at University College Birmingham have been celebrating outstanding results as UCB aims to play a key role in addressing a shortage of qualified staff in the industry.

Figures released last week by the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) revealed 52 percent of nursery staff in England hold a minimum Level 3 qualification – down from 83 percent just three years ago – with employers now facing increasing difficulty in recruiting qualified workers.

NDNA chief executive Purnima Tanuku warned the drop poses a threat to the quality of provision in nurseries, describing the situation as "a full-blown crisis".

UCB is an established provider of qualifications for the early years workforce, offering courses in education and childcare ranging from Level 2 to master's degrees.

And with the University's current crop of Level 3 Childcare and Education students having achieved excellent grades in one of their key research projects, Programme Manager Jo Matthews says UCB is well placed to help boost the number of qualified practitioners entering the profession.

Speaking about the NDNA figures, Jo said: "This highlights there is a decline not only in recruiting qualified Level 3 staff, but there is also a rise in unqualified staff working within early years.

"Our Level 3 students are passionate about working in early years. Their experience here at UCB is providing them with the skills and knowledge required to be outstanding practitioners, and therefore will improve the quality of this provision.

"Once qualified, our Level 3 students will be a credit both to us and to the future workforce within early years. They are already showing the commitment, dedication and hard work to prove they are knowledgeable in the development and learning of children aged five and under."

As a key element of their course, first year Level 3 Childcare and Education students have spent the past few months conducting an Effective Practice Study, linking their learning at UCB to early years settings in which they are undergoing placements.

The 5,000-word research paper required them to identify core legislation and competencies and provide evidence of how they are put into practice within their professional environments, working under assessors with support from the University's hired@UCB employability team.

And the assessment was a resounding success for the students who recorded a 100 percent pass rate, with almost two thirds of the class achieving grades A*-A.

"These results are brilliant and we're all absolutely thrilled," said Jo. "This shows our students have gained the knowledge both in academic skills and competency skills working in the early years environment.

"Our students have already got that confidence and ability at their ages and they're showing themselves to be very good potential early years practitioners."

Find out more about Level 3 Childcare and Education and our range of other courses at UCB's School of Education, Health and Community here.

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