The Government has today announced a £2 million apprenticeship bursary scheme for the early years profession.

Those aspiring to a career in early education will be able to apply for a bursary worth up to £1,500, with a further £300 available for more training, from September. There will be up to 1,000 bursary places available.

In January, in More Great Childcare, the Government said it would build a stronger and more professional early years workforce with more rigorous qualifications.

training-apprenticeThe Apprenticeship Bursary will be a transitional scheme ahead of the Early Years Educator qualifications in 2014. The Apprenticeship Bursary Scheme will also seek to support the delivery of the early learning places for two year olds.

To be eligible, applicants will need to secure an apprenticeship position in a nursery or other provision that delivers the early learning places for two year olds; and hold at least a GCSE, at grade C or above, in English and maths, to help ensure that a more skilled workforce delivers better quality early education.

Elizabeth Truss, Childcare and Education Minister, said:

“Caring for and educating young children is a fantastically rewarding job.

“The bursaries announced today will make it easier for talented people to start a career in early education.

“Providing good quality early education is proven to help young children get a head-start in life, especially those who are from poorer backgrounds.

“I hope these bursaries encourage students to consider working in early education.”

The scheme, which will be run by the National College for Teaching and Leadership, will be open to applications from this September.

Apprenticeships are expected to last an average of 20 months. They will consist of employment and study to gain a recognised qualification through various routes, including further education colleges.

David Pomfret, Principal of the College of West Anglia, said:

“We have seen a significant increase in the number of young people taking childcare courses at the college in recent years and are about to launch a new range of work-based apprenticeships in early years to provide further opportunities.

“We welcome the Minister’s announcement of the Apprenticeship Bursary Scheme, which should enable more people to train for a career in this growth industry.”