Budget to lead to early years education apprenticeship spike


One of the UK's biggest early years education training providers believes the sector is about to embark on an apprenticeship boom following the changes outlined in the new budget.

Expanding the childcare offering

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced that free childcare of up to 30 hours a week was due to be expanded for working parents in England for one and two year olds, matching the offer currently available to three and four year olds.

The impact

Karen Derbyshire, Operations Director for Early Years at Realise, believes nurseries will have to embark on a policy of recruitment and upskilling to deal with the increased demand.


Karen continued to say: “While the extension of free childcare is undoubtedly a welcome boost for parents, it will pose some operational challenges for nurseries.

“For some time now, the industry has been hit with both a shortage of new entrants coming into the industry and qualified staff remaining in the sector.

“That has left many nursery managers facing a recruitment headache which must be addressed with the increased demand they are now going to be facing, and apprenticeships and other training methods are going to play a key part in that.

“Apprenticeship programmes can be hugely successful for both the learner and the employer, whether it’s attracting new recruits into early years education or upskilling existing staff.

“For the learner it provides the opportunity to earn while you learn and create career development opportunities while, for the nursery setting, apprenticeships represent a cost-effective way to train staff and see a sustained increase in skills levels amongst the workforce.”

Government incentives

Karen believes the success of the policy implementation will be dictated by numerous factors, including the level of subsidies provided by the government to nurseries per child and the ability to attract new talent to the childcare sector.

She added: “During Covid, we saw the government introduce financial incentives for employers to take on new apprentcies.

“That would be something which could assist nurseries in helping to meet the increased demand they will now be facing.

“I’d also like to see the government consider incentivising new recruits to join the early years sector as candidate attraction will be more crucial than ever for nurseries once this policy is introduced.”

Let’s talk

Click the button to start the conversation.

Written by