The Department continues to support employer trailblazer groups to develop new apprenticeship standards for the early years workforce and to access funding for apprenticeship training. Organisations with a pay bill of less than £3 million each year are only required to pay 5% of the training costs for apprentices (within the relevant funding band). Alongside this, the Department is investing £20 million for in-service professional development and training for pre-reception early years practitioners in targeted disadvantaged areas from 53 local authorities.
The Department also continues to work closely with the sector to look at issues that might be affecting recruitment and retention in the early years workforce. For example, the Fatherhood Institute has been awarded a grant to develop tools and resources aimed at increasing gender diversity in the early years sector. In partnership with Ofsted the Department has also supported a project led by the Early Years Alliance to explore and respond to workload burdens in the sector.