The Cornwall Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership involved all the key players in Cornwall, with voluntary/community groups as its core, and aimed to bring disadvantaged parents into learning/employment building on their initial engagement with childcare initiatives. This was achieved through the development of training/material to build the capacity of childcare organisations, to enable the target group to progress through learning. This included new training programmes and support in learning through experience as childminders to create competencies that could be used in other areas of self employment/business start up.
The project objectives were to:
- Build the capacity to childcare organisations to support the process.
- Develop a range of products, including training materials for mentors/volunteers in these groups plus materials aimed at the target group.
This includes materials to support progression through volunteering, and build generic business skills through childminding.
- Test the approaches/methodologies and materials through a pilot programme managed through locally based initiatives.
The rationale behind the project was the need to find new ways of re-engaging disadvantaged groups, including single parents, with learning/earning, to take innovative actions in an objective one area where employment choices are limited by the rurality/seasonality of employment, and to develop the potential of community based provision to do this.
Childcare professionals work with parents and carers using the learning materials. The childcare professionals themselves became part of the learning support network for the parents and carers. The project revealed training needs in mentoring and professional befriending which were addressed as the project developed. The outcome is a capability for capacity building for Childcare professional and Voluntary Sector workers into new areas of professional development which is planned to continue in the developing Children Centres and Extended Schools (45 managed centres will include elements of family learning )