The Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA) is embarking on the second phase of a major campaign to recruit newly registered childminders in targeted urban and rural communities, including up to 15 in Dumfries & Galloway throughout Glenluce, Dalbeattie, Kelholm & Sanquhar, Wigtown, New Galloway, Dalry and Glenkens to help establish childminding places for families.
This latest phase overall will aim to recruit and train a further 115 new childminders in specific communities where they are most needed in Scotland. The project provides a package of fully funded support and training available to successful applicants, providing everything needed to establish a new childminding business.
The campaign follows on from the success of a rural pilot project in 2022 which has seen almost 60 new childminders complete registration (or apply for registration) to the Care Inspectorate with the intent of establishing childminding businesses in remote and rural areas of Scotland, with more childminder registrations expected to follow in the coming months.
Led by SCMA, with funding from the Scottish Government and participating local authorities, the ‘Scottish Childminding Partnership’ now seeks to further increase the number of childminding businesses, targeting additional areas of Scotland where there are currently not enough childminders to meet the level of demand from working families seeking local, high-quality, nurturing and flexible childcare.
This second phase will help to further test the application of SCMA’s supported childminder recruitment model in larger and more densely populated urban areas.
No previous childcare experience is required to become a childminder but applicants do need to be passionate about working with children. It’s an extremely rewarding career option – contributing to children’s development, learning and wellbeing and providing a valuable childcare service within the local community. Childminders are self-employed business owners who come from all walks of life and diverse backgrounds. Often, people who are looking to get back into work, or who want to switch career into professional childminding, do so to enable them to combine caring for their own children whilst running their own business from home and earning an income.
Those who apply and are accepted onto the pilot will be supported every step of the way by a dedicated member of the SCMA team, from induction training and support through the registration process to establishing their new business. On completion of registration with the Care Inspectorate and HMRC, new childminders have access to a start-up grant so that they can be reimbursed for some of the initial costs associated with setting up their new business from home**. They will also receive a unique package of childminding-specific training courses.
Graeme McAlister, Chief Executive, Scottish Childminding Association, said: “This campaign builds on the success of our 2022 pilot where we successfully recruited new childminders in remote and rural communities. Whether in rural areas, towns or cities, this form of high-quality childcare is a vital asset to families and the recruitment of more childminders is another important step towards addressing the urgent demand for high-quality childcare from parents and carers. This is a fantastic opportunity for those living in these target areas, who may be considering getting back into work, or looking for a change of career which supports a better work / life balance, to access a wealth of support in setting up their own sustainable childminding business and to begin a new, rewarding career working with children.”
“The childminding workforce has been declining and there is an acute need, and unmet demand, for childminding in many parts of Scotland. Our rural pilot has tested a supported model for recruiting new childminders which has been delivering strong results. By further testing its application in urban areas and applying learning from our rural pilot, we very much believe the next stage will be scaling-up this campaign nationally”.
A survey by SCMA in 2020 reported positive experiences of those who had decided to change their career to childminding – with 88% saying they would recommend it to others. 93% who had their own children before becoming a childminder particularly valued using their own knowledge and experience to help other families.
Linsey Paul established her childminding business in Ardersier, Highland last year after seeing SCMA’s recruitment advert online: “My friends and family always encouraged me to think about working with children. They kept saying I’d be really good at it and it was always something I thought I might try but I had no idea how to get started. My previous roles had included being a hairdresser and working in an opticians – I had no experience of the childcare sector whatsoever. I saw the advert and it was like a lightbulb moment – I was so excited because something just clicked, and I knew this was right for me.
“I can’t believe how much has changed in the relatively short space of time since I first saw that advert – in just six months I have a completely new career, I’m self-employed and running my own business. Working with children is something that I knew I would love and I’m delighted that I finally found my route into this!”
Minister for Children and Young People, Clare Haughey, said: “The Scottish Government wants to encourage more people into childminding and we are pleased to be working in collaboration with SCMA and others to develop the second phase of this innovative pilot to support recruitment in specific areas. Childminders provide a unique, flexible and tailored experience of childcare and they are a much valued part of our Early Learning and Childcare workforce.”
More information on the target areas, including eligibility and criteria is available at www.childminding.org/childminder-recruitment