ACL Essex to deliver new £1.4 million Poppins Bursary

ACL Essex / Tue 19th Mar 2024 at 09:18am

THE new £1.4 million Poppins Bursary will be used to support new staff, as well as those who already work within the early years sector, to progress in their careers.

Essex County Council is committed to ensuring all children get the best start in life. Part of this includes supporting recruitment within the early years sector.

The council is working to ensure there are career opportunities for professionals. This will see more children access high quality childcare as more parents and carers enter employment.

The bursary will offer fully funded courses across the county, delivered by ACL Essex. These will be suitable for early years employees who may be new to the sector.

They are also available for those looking to return after a career break or gain formal accreditation. The courses will help individuals improve their skills and progress to higher or more specialised jobs.

Grants will also be available to help new childminders set up a business. 

The bursary is being funded through the council’s Levelling Up fund, as well as ACL’s Adult Education Budget, which derive from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).

This bursary looks to create at least:

·       90 new childcare places within childminder settings 

·       480 new childcare places in nursery type settings 

·       75 specialist practitioners to support children with SEND

Councillor Louise McKinlay, Deputy Leader of Essex County Council and Cabinet Member for Levelling Up, Communities and Business Engagement, said: “I am delighted to announce funding for the new Poppins Bursary. This will deliver vital support and training to both new and existing Early Years staff throughout Essex.

“We know there is a sector-wide shortage in qualified and experienced early years and childcare professionals, both nationally and locally, and this is just one of several initiatives we are delivering to ensure parents have access to high quality childcare.

“The new bursary will help create new job opportunities and apprenticeships, and increase the qualified workforce we need to increase the number of early years places. This supports our levelling up ambitions as we try and help more parents and carers back into the workplace or increase the hours they currently work.”

Councillor Beverley Egan, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Early Years, said: “The new Poppins Bursary supports our commitment to improving recruitment in the early years and childcare sector. Alongside our ‘Make a change. Build a future campaign’, it is helping to raise awareness of early years and childcare as a brilliant career option in Essex and the opportunities that are available.

“As a former childminder myself, I can vouch for how incredibly rewarding it can be working in this sector and am delighted to support this new initiative to help those start or develop their careers.”

Councillor Andrew Sheldon, Deputy Cabinet Member for Education Excellence, Life Long Learning and Employability, said: “It is important that as a council we are seen to be leading the change. We are providing innovative ways to make those working in early years feel valued and encouraged to continue in their work with our county’s youngest residents.

“This new bursary will provide fantastic opportunities for us to create new jobs and apprenticeships. It will also help to increase our qualified workforce, improve essential support for children and their families, and ensure everyone is given the best start in life.”

Find out more or take up a course paid for by the new Poppins Bursary by emailing [email protected]

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