Who is the early years workforce?

The early years workforce includes both paid and unpaid staff; public, voluntary and charitable sectors; the private sector; and anyone who works with parents, children or young people. 

The principles of Getting It Right For Every Child set out the premise that ensuring the best outcomes for children and young people is everybody’s job. The wider workforce also has a role to play in improving the outcomes for early years indirectly, for example, private employers or human resource departments can have an impact on families through policies to enable flexible working or supporting women to breastfeed.

Delivery of early years work requires cross-sectoral input. For example, supporting breastfeeding is not merely the responsibility of NHS staff –childcare staff, including childminders, can provide a welcoming environment for mothers to breastfeed; reception staff can take responsibility for ensuring that nursing mothers know that the premises are breastfeeding-friendly; workplaces can provide support and facilities for breastfeeding mothers; and education staff can influence cultural messages which normalise breastfeeding.

Professionals across all sectors can also support children achieve their best potential through supporting communities to develop their own aspirations for their children and encouraging them to secure positive outcomes for themselves.  In order to effectively meet diverse needs and support positive outcomes, the workforce must take a person-centred, holistic, integrated and competent approach.  Organisations must break down the barriers between service providers to allow for a more holistic approach to service delivery and blur professional boundaries to ensure that individual support is delivered at the right time, by the right person at the right level of intensity for each individual family.

The emerging ‘Healthcare Quality Strategy’, which is an outgrowth of Better Health Better Care will support a widespread culture change within the NHS. Using feedback from the public, this strategy is being developed to be user need focused and aims to enhance the contribution of the NHS to early years work.

Articles in this topic

  • Article

    Modernising Nursing in the Community

    The Modernising Nursing in the Community (MNiC) programme was established to provide support and direction for community nursing to realise its full potential in providing safe, effective and person-centred care and support to people in Scotland. A website has been launched to support the programme

    • When was this last updated? 5/22/2013

Evidence

Professional support materials