5 ways to encourage more young people into the early years sector

The early year's sector is experiencing fewer applications for roles; survey responses mention lack of experience and inability to meet salary expectations as some of the top reasons for the decline in hires. Staff shortages mean institutions are unable to offer a large number of childcare places, due to the limits in place for the number of educators per child. 

We’ve come up with five ways to encourage more young people to explore a career within the early years setting.

1. Reach out to your target applicants sooner

Training providers and employers are keen to drive young people towards apprenticeship applications. It’s important to engage with Careers Leads and similar roles in education providers early on, even before students choose their GCSE subject options. 

Our platform has over 320,000 students taking control of their futures. Many apply for virtual work experience opportunities to leverage their knowledge of their chosen industry from the age of 14  before they’re ready to apply for post-education roles. 

By engaging with these students earlier, the early years’ sector can drive applications by ensuring that young people understand what is needed to progress from entry-level to senior positions. This can be done through a virtual work experience programme, a short course or insight events for students to engage with those who have completed an apprenticeship within the industry.

2. Change the perception of apprenticeships

In the past apprenticeships have been perceived as a second-class route compared to university, whilst this isn't the case, it's important to ensure parents are well-informed.

Training providers must work together with employers to share information not only to prospective applicants but also to their parents, who may influence the young person’s career decisions.

This is an area in which early year professionals can easily excel. It is a profession fortunate enough to always be required, much like those within the trade industry, which helps boost the likelihood of job security for those who apply. Gaining an apprenticeship in a sector that will stick around, is one way to earn a parent’s backing.

3. Level Up

Early Years practitioners can hire apprentices at a level 2 to get them through the door, before placing them on a level 3 apprenticeship and beyond to upskill. This allows businesses to retain and retrain talent, building on skills from early on and saving on hiring costs.

Not only does this allow applicants to gain experience whilst already at work, it also provides an incentive to those applying who hope to progress within the organisation and the wider industry.

4. Targeting nearby regions

With this in mind, targeting regions specifically near to the employers could be a way to boost applications whilst ensuring the role is accessible to the applicant. Whilst apprentices can be any age, if training providers target school leavers, the likelihood of them being able to drive, and then own a car, can prove difficult depending on their financial situation.

This has been successful for those within the healthcare industry who have used Springpod to target local students for work experience programmes to build a pipeline of local talent. The trusts have created virtual work experience programmes with Springpod to generate interest to those local to the area;  once they have completed their studies, they are likely to return to the trust they have experience with.

5. Prepare applicants better

Reports have shown that over 40% of apprentices drop out before they complete the course, with one reason being that they don’t feel work-ready. To combat this, providers can create a short ‘get work ready’ course to enable prospective apprentices to access employability skills before they apply - similar to a virtual work experience programme but with more focus on employability as the candidates' next step. 

Springpod can help you create and promote the programme to engaged applicants who are less likely to drop out as they feel prepared for the workplace once they find a role.

Get in touch todayto find out how Springpod can help get your apprenticeship opportunities in front of over 320,000 students and create apprentices that are workplace ready.


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