Early years recruitment focus of new research

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Recruitment in the early years workforce is the focus of a study being carried out by NatCen, who are looking for managers and practitioners to take part.


The project funded by the Nuffield Foundation is taking place in six local authority areas.

Researchers will be conducting face-to-face and telephone interviews with managers and frontline staff about their experiences of the early years profession.

The research, understanding the early years workforce, aims to include a wide range of providers, including private, voluntary and independent settings, schools and childminders.

It aims to answer questions, including:

  • What motivates people to enter, remain in (or leave) the early years sector?
  • How and why do managers hire, keep and train high quality early years staff?
  • What factors make it easy or difficult for early years providers to retain high quality staff?
  • What factors make it easy or difficult for early years providers to train and develop high quality early years staff?

Providers will be asked about the process of hiring, keeping and training staff, their views on the overall status of the early years profession, including working conditions, the long-term outlook for staff and any recommendations for how the sector could be better supported.

The interviews are taking place between now and June in six local areas:

  • Bath and North-East Somerset
  • Blackburn and Darwen
  • Cambridgeshire
  • Islington
  • Nottingham City
  • Redcar and Cleveland

Sandy Chidley, senior researcher at NatCen, said, ‘We will be exploring what helps and hinders the recruitment, retention and development of high-quality early years staff. We hope that the research will help to inform policies to raise the quality of early years provision across the country.

‘NatCen want to hear from a range of people working in early years, so please do get in touch if you want to find out more. This is your chance to share your thoughts, influence policy and practice and be rewarded for your time.’

Volunteers will receive a book voucher as a thank you for taking part. Interviews are taking place between now and June.

  • To find out more please contact Dr Lydia Marshall, who is leading the research team, at EYworkforce@natcen.ac.uk or on 0207 549 7158 for more information.
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