NDNA director of quality and workforce development, Stella Ziolkowski, answers questions on the Ambassadors for Careers with Children and Young People initiative.
Q: What are Ambassadors for Careers with Children and Young People?
A Ambassadors for Careers with Children and Young People are early years practitioners who want to promote childcare as a professional and rewarding career to school, college and university leavers as well as job seekers. The aim is to improve public awareness of the career potential as well as the varied and interesting career paths available in early years and move away from the perception it is a ‘last resort’ career choice. The Ambassadors were launched by Skills for Care and Development, supported by co- investment from the UK Commission for employment. It builds on the established Care Ambassadors initiative already in place.
Q: Can anyone become Aan Ambassador?
Anyone who works in early years and has a passion to promote the sector to others can become an Ambassador for Careers with Children and Young People. After the success in England, it is now in the early stages of being rolled out in Wales and Scotland with the Ambassadors called Ambassadors for Careers in Care. It does not matter what level you are working at, as it is important there is a good mix of skills with Ambassadors at varying stages of their careers.
If you would like to take the first step and find out more, NDNA as a host organisation has all the information you need whether you are in England, Scotland or Wales. We will be offering monthly webinars to those interested in becoming an Ambassador, and there is also a training app, which has been developed by Skills for Care and Development. The training outlines what the role of Ambassador involves, and includes a resource bank, which can be used to help with talks and presentations.
Our priority as an early years sector body is to continually support early years employers with recruitment and retention. NDNA will be helping to recruit as many new Ambassadors from within the sector as possible, with the aim of eventually covering the whole country. A steadily growing database of Ambassadors will
also prove an effective way of bringing employers together with schools and students in the longer term. Using NDNA as a host organisation provides a convenient way for schools, colleges and universities to reach early years experts rather than nurseries registering individually and having to deal with requests directly.
Q: What do the Ambassadors do, and how can it help the early Ayears workforce?
The Ambassadors are part of the wider Skills for Care and Development project, Recruiting a World Class Workforce, which involves the sector skills council working in partnership with organisations and individuals such as NDNA, to help employers with recruitment. Early years Ambassadors go into schools and colleges, job centres, careers fairs and other events where people are looking for advice and guidance on careers. It is about helping all students see the rewards of working in early years, especially those who are academically able and would not normally consider the sector as a career.
Recruiting as many Ambassadors as possible means there is a wide range of experiences to pass on to potential early years workers. These include working as practitioners at home and overseas, through to working with local authorities and as Ofsted inspectors alongside the work they do now developing skills to support members sector wide with childcare practice and childcare business support.
As well as providing a real benefit for people considering working in the sector, the Ambassadors will also benefit employers by helping create a qualified, dedicated early years workforce. It will raise the sector’s profile and build a pool of potential recruits who fully understand the role, before an employer commits to the expensive recruitment and induction processes.