At this time of year, when GCSEs and A levels are finished, results are out and the focus is on recruiting those who have just completed their education, it can be easy to overlook the importance of improving the knowledge of those already working in your childcare setting.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is key for not only upskilling your existing workforce, but it also reduces recruitment costs, attracts top talent and helps to prevent skills shortages within your setting. If you can ensure that your team undergoes regular refresher training on a variety of subjects relevant to working in early years, it means that they’ll always be up-to-date with the latest policies, procedures and practices – and it certainly doesn’t need to be expensive!
Through the training that you already provide to your staff, you may have experienced that even though the team is predominantly hard-working and passionate, occasionally, some may lack the drive or confidence to put themselves forward for their next qualification. Encouraging your team to continue their development is great for morale, motivation and their wellbeing – it has many benefits for the employer too!
The main benefit of CPD for employers is that it can ensure that standards across the setting are both high and consistent – this is great for your reputation and if you have a childcare website, this is something you should be shouting about online! Having a number of employees undertake CPD over a period of time allows for the sharing of ‘best practice’ and support for each other. CPD also contributes to maximising staff potential and provides a useful benchmark for annual appraisals. Be sure to use CPD courses which are fully accredited.
CPD not only helps employees keep their knowledge and skills current, but it also ensures that the professional standard of their qualifications and registrations is maintained. In addition, it can contribute to their professional ‘sense of direction’. Completing CPD helps build confidence and credibility, allows staff to showcase their achievements and arms them with the tools to cope positively with change. CPD is also beneficial for employees’ career progression as it shows willingness to improve.
The great thing about CPD accredited courses relevant to early years childcare is that there are many available to do online – which means there are no deadlines, no time restrictions and no classroom visits. So study is done in the learner’s own time and at a pace that suits them.
There are also a few simple things you can do to make life easier for your staff during their CPD training.
Create a revision area
Space permitting, try and have a quiet area where staff can go to do any research they need to do, or complete their assignments online in peace when they have spare time. Making your setting ‘revision-friendly’ is not too difficult if you can provide a table and put up a sign to let people know that the area is reserved for staff revision/study.
Make a point of celebrating staff members who successfully complete their training. For instance, you could bring homemade cakes and special treats into work when someone passes a course, or if you have a few members of staff who are doing online CPD courses, you could bring treats in on one day of the month to celebrate all of them at the same time! Showing this level of recognition will help incentivise other members of your team and boost morale.
Tell your staff what it means to you and set a good example
Whenever you get the chance, whether in your one-to-one catch ups or when a new person joins your team, be vocal about how much you value people continuing their professional development and what a positive impact it has for not just the setting but the children too. You could enhance your own knowledge even further and should lead by example by taking a CPD accredited online course yourself!
Include training in objectives
When you set out objectives for your staff, talk to them about working towards their next qualification. Having the goal written down can be strong enough motivation to nudge them towards taking action and signing up for a course!