Paying new childcare workers a €1,200 recruitment bonus would not be “professional”, a leading industry insider has said.
Much like in Ireland, childcare providers in Britain are struggling to find staff following Government investment in the sector.
Last week, the British Government announced new hires would be given a £1,000 (€1,200) signing-on bonus but the providers are sceptical.
“I have been talking to providers in the UK this morning and they have actually found it quite insulting that the Government is doing this,” Federation of Early Childhood Chairperson Elaine Dunne told Lunchtime Live.
“Considering that over 4,000 services closed last year and they’re chronically underfunded.
“Why is the funding not being pumped into the viability of the businesses to ensure that the business is there and they can bring up the wages for the staff in their own services?”
Ms Dunne said some of her British colleagues had even felt “shocked and disappointed” by the plan and she would not support a similar scheme in Ireland.
“For us as a federation, I wouldn’t be very happy if this was the route that the Department of Children decided to go down,” she said.
“At the end of the day, they need to want to come in and work with a child and nurture a child.
“Paying someone to come in because it’s a £1,000, I don’t think that’s very professional in any way shape or form for Government to behave, to be honest.”
Instead of recruitment bonuses, Ms Dunnes said the Government should consider putting better training plans in place for childcare workers.
“Maybe an apprenticeship would work?” she said.
“They might be studying the Level 5 and that they can work while studying on a part-time basis.”
In Budget 2024, the Government announced the National Childcare Scheme hourly subsidy would increase from €1.40 to €2.14.
Main image: A group of children from a nursery school in high visibility jackets.