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14 May 2018, 11:18
Almost 2,000 more training places for people to study childcare are being created this year as part of Scottish Government efforts to recruit thousands more workers to the sector.
With the SNP having pledged to almost double the amount of funded early years care youngsters can benefit from to 1,140 hours a year by 2020, efforts are underway to attract the estimated 11,000 additional staff needed to achieve this.
New training places are being created at universities and colleges this year, while Childcare Minister Maree Todd launched the latest phase of a major recruitment campaign.
Those switching careers are being urged to consider working in the early years sector - with a survey showing 58% regard this as a "rewarding job".
Improving their work/life balance is the most common reason for people changing job, with 61% citing this, while 58% said they wanted to find more reqrding employment.
Two fifths (40%) of those surveyed described working in childcare as a "meaningful" role, while 34% said it offered people the chance to have fun, with 24% adding it allowed them to be creative.
These are highlighted in the new A Job and A Joy recruitment campaign, which Ms Todd launched on a visit to the Country Bumpkins nursery in Invernesshire.
The Childcare Minister said: "We know that when people consider changing career they want to achieve a good work life balance and do rewarding and meaningful work. A career in childcare does exactly that.
"Our expansion of funded nursery education and childcare will create thousands of high quality and well-paid jobs across Scotland. Working with children is rewarding, enjoyable and meaningful, and this is the focus of our 'A Job and A Joy' campaign. I urge those thinking of changing jobs to seriously consider a career in childcare."
Ms Todd met nursery worker Nicola Johnstone, who recently switched from working as a hairdresser to join the nursery staff.
She said: "I absolutely love it. It's such a rewarding role. Seeing children's happy faces makes you feel happy and there's a real sense of achievement. I enjoy being part of a team and there's lots of creativity, no two days are the same."
Country Bumpkins nursery manager Nicola Bartlett added: "We have a number of people who have changed careers and moved into childcare here at the nursery.
"I think the fact that it's a fun and varied job makes it attractive, and that you're really making a difference to the children's lives so it's also very rewarding."