More than a quarter of all childcare workers are aged under 30 - and the number of people who have learned to drive within that age group is dwindling.

Whilst in many ways that could be considered good news - fewer cars on the road has got to help the environment - it does mean that our workforce may be lacking a key skill.

The costs of motoring for young people are thought to be one of the main factors preventing them from getting behind the wheel.

Though choosing not to drive to work every day in favour of environmentally friendly means of transport should be encouraged, empowering our young colleagues to upskill in all senses is good for them and good for the industry. A driving licence continues to bring opportunities both personally and professionally.

The academic study ‘Young People’s Travel - What’s Changed and Why?’ noted that the number of 17-20 year olds with driving licences has fallen from 48% to 29%. The proportion of 21-29 year olds with licences fell from 75% to 63%.

The recent report 'young drivers: conquering the road' said a significant factor is the cost of car insurance for young drivers.

Cost of insurance for young people

The above report said the average annual cost of car insurance for 17 to 24 year olds is £1,264. That’s about 10% of the average annual income for that age group - and understandably proves prohibitive for some.

The report suggests a number of opportunities to keep the cost of car insurance down.

 These include:

  • Selecting a car carefully as different makes and models attract significantly different insurance premiums.
  • Considering an insurance policy that includes a ‘black box,’ which monitors driving style and rewards safe driving.
  • Considering opting to pay a higher excess should a claim occur.
  • Shopping around for a good deal.

The report lists the top 10 cheapest cars to ensure for young drivers. The average premium among the top 10 cheapest cars to ensure for young drivers stands at £335 less than the overall average.

The top three cheapest cars for young people to insure, according to the report, are:

  • Volkswagen Up!
  • Citroen C1
  • Fiat 500

That’s despite the fact that the most popular cars with young drivers are the Vauxhall Corsa, Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo - proving that too many people are picking the wrong car for a cost effective deal.

Cost of driving lessons

The cost of driving lessons is also likely to have a bearing on whether young people choose to learn to drive.

It is estimated 40-50 hours of professional lessons is average - and those hours come with a significant price tag (with lessons costing above £25).

It’s tempting for learners to try to get to their test as quickly as possible after as few lessons as possible, but inexperience on the road leads to accidents. Drivers aged under 25 are reportedly three times more likely to be killed or seriously injured per mile driven when compared to their older counterparts.

Pass Plus qualifications are offered by many driving schools and allow drivers to get additional driving skills, such as night driving, driving in poor weather and navigating dual carriageways. The qualification can help make new drivers safer on the roads and bring insurance premiums down.

Agreeing a discounted deal with a local driving school on Pass Plus courses for staff members could be an inventive and welcome perk for your team.

Why we need to upskill and empower our workforce

The Education Policy Institute’s ‘The early years workforce in England’ report, which noted that 27.5% of childcare workers are aged under 30, concluded the sector continues to live up to a reputation of having a workforce that is mostly female, low qualified and poorly paid.

Meanwhile, recruitment and retention of staff is a big issue.

The report says: “High quality early years provision can have a positive and lasting impact on children’s socioemotional and cognitive development.

“The evidence clearly indicates that a skilled and qualified workforce is a key driver of high quality provision.

“Yet this report finds that the skills and sustainability of the workforce are going in the wrong direction. If the government is committed to improving the quality of early years provision, it must provide the well-informed incentives for motivated workers to not only enter, but also remain, in the sector with opportunities to upskill, better wages and improved financial security.”

Clearly, learning to drive isn’t at the heart of the upskilling the report is calling for, but it is another area where skills can be built and encouraged to enable our young colleagues to continue motoring towards creating a bright future for themselves and the children we care for. With greater mobility comes greater flexibility and wider opportunities.









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