Two-thirds of Irish adults believe free childcare should be available to all, according to an annual study conducted by Early Childhood Ireland. And the same number say the pay of highly-trained childcare staff should reflect their qualifications.
Responding to the survey results, Fórsa organiser Katie Morgan said salaries in the early years’ sector remained among the lowest in the Irish workforce, and that the Government was falling short on its commitment to establishing a graduate-led workforce.
“While we appreciate the need for a highly-skilled workforce, and understand the benefits it would bring, we need a clear commitment from Government that it will fund improvements in pay and working conditions in early childhood to reflect these qualifications,” she said.
Fórsa says most staff in the sector are already highly-qualified. But services are hit by high staff turnover because remuneration does not match the level of qualifications demanded.
“We need increased investment to professionalise the grade. We welcome these survey results as they demonstrate strong public support for improved terms and conditions in the sector,” Katie said.
The research also found high support for better regulation of the sector, with 87% saying all private childminders should have basic first aid skills, be Garda vetted, and be subject to higher regulatory standards.
Early Childhood Ireland director of policy and advocacy Frances Byrne echoed Katie’s sentiments. “The survey results represent a vital mandate for Government to continue to robustly invest in and deliver further supports for the sector and families,” she said.
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