A review of qualifications for nursery staff and childminders in England has highlighted concerns about literacy and numeracy skills among workers.  The report, carried out by Professor Cathy Nutbrown, was commissioned by the government and published by the Department for Education.

The report says that it was a ‘potential weakness’ that those training to work with children were not asked to show they reached a competent level in English and Maths.  Professor Nutbrown said: ‘Getting qualifications right will help to ensure that women and men enter the profession with the skills and experiences they need to do the best work with young children and their families.’ (BBC, 24th March 2012)

Ensuring a business has the right skills and abilities in place is relevant in all industries.  OPITO, the oil and gas industry’s focus for skills, learning and workforce development, works with employers, as well as education and training providers in order to achieve the skills base the industry needs now and in the future.

The oil and gas industry is a diverse sector with a wide range of job roles both onshore and offshore.  With rapidly changing technology and the need for the highest levels of safety in all roles, the industry has to provide ongoing development opportunities for its workforce.  These range from technical skills at apprenticeship level to graduate abilities in scientific and analytical disciplines.

A focus on not just breadth but also depth of skill is equally relevant for nursery workers.  Professor Nutbrown has expressed concerns about whether qualifications that could be completed in a year would give what she describes as ‘sufficient time to develop proper understanding of child development’.

She commented: ‘Well-taught courses and learning routes which lead to reliable qualifications can help early-years practitioners to improve their skills, knowledge and personal qualities, constantly developing in their roles. This can only benefit young children, both in terms of their day-to-day experiences in the Early Years Foundation Stage and future learning outcomes.’

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