The Mid Ulster Labour Market Partnership (LMP) is offering places at a Registered Child Minder Academy to help increase the provision of affordable childcare in the Mid Ulster area.
The overall goal of the LMP’s Academy is to support female participation in the economy, thereby reducing the gender gap in Mid Ulster’s economic activity.
It is still a shocking fact that commitments to family and home life are the most common reason for women here not entering the workforce.
Just under a third of working age women here are economically inactive, compared to just under a quarter of men, according to a Labour Force Survey earlier this year.
The Academy is open to all Mid Ulster District Council residents who are over the age of 18 and who are either unemployed, long term unemployed, under-employed (working 16 hours or less per week), at risk of redundancy, seeking career progression through upskilling or reskilling or who have been economically inactive for any reason (e.g., due to long term ill-health or disability, caring commitments, early retired, or any other reason).
Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Córa Corry, welcomed the new Academy saying:
“Given the highly disproportionate impact that a lack of available childcare has on women, it is essential that initiatives which focus on increasing the number of registered child minders within our district are developed.
“Childcare for families should be accessible and affordable, and this can only happen if there is a critical mass of provision available to those who need it.
“The wider economic benefits of providing the practical support that will help in getting more women into the workplace cannot be overestimated.”
The Northern Ireland Childminding Association (NICMA) has been appointed as the delivery agent for the programme.
NICMA will aim to train 25 participants to meet the minimum requirements as a registered child minder and will mentor them through the registration process with the Health and Social Care Trust Early Years team.
Registered participants will also receive support with equipment needed to safely deliver child minding such as stair gates, first aid box, fire blank, thermometer, choke tester, publications and policies.
NICMA CEO Patricia Lewsley-Mooney CBE said: “We are delighted to deliver this programme in partnership with Mid-Ulster LMP.
“Our goal is to provide training for 25 new registered childminders, while mentoring them through the registration process, working with the local early years teams within the trust areas of Mid-Ulster.”
The Labour Market Partnership, which creates targeted employment action plans for council areas, is funded by the Department for Communities.
The scheme allows for collaboration at local and regional level to support people towards and into work.
Local employers can review the priorities of the Mid Ulster Labour Market Partnership Action Plan on the Council’s website, or request a copy in full by emailing LMP@midulstercouncil.org.