Friday, 6 September 2019

Ceisteanna (1707)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

1707. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of fitness to practise letters issued to early years employees with qualifications from other countries by county and year of issuance since 2016, in tabular form. [36378/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

A key priority for me as Minister for Children and Youth Affairs is seeking to ensure high quality early learning and care services for children, which includes having a valued and stable workforce. The Workforce Development Plan aims to lay out a clear pathway for achieving the commitments set out in First 5 for the development of the early learning and care and school-age childcare workforce. It will identify actions to raise the profile of careers in the sector, as well as to recruit and retain skilled professionals.

The Early Years Sector Profile report 2017/2018 is a comprehensive source of information on the sector in Ireland. The data and findings from the report play an important part in tracking progress and changes within the sector as well as identifying emerging needs. Particularly notable from this report is the increase in the number of children using centre-based services and the numbers of staff employed in these services. I am delighted to see that these early years professionals are becoming increasingly more qualified, as the survey reflects. The data for the 2018/2019 Early Years Sector Profile Report is being compiled at present and will be available before the end of 2019.

My Department has published a list of early years qualifications, from both Ireland and abroad, that are recognised for the purposes of meeting the requirements of the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016 and the contractual requirements for the ECCE programme funded by my Department.

If someone who wishes to work in an early learning and care service in Ireland has a qualification that is not on the published list, that person can apply to my Department seeking a letter of eligibility to practice. An assessment is then made as to whether that person's qualification meets the standard of recognised qualifications. Early learning and care professionals cannot be employed by a service provider until their qualifications are approved, if their qualification award is not on the published list.

My Department receives a diverse range of qualification applications for awards obtained abroad for recognition. My Department also receives applications from professionals whose qualification award is already on the published list, and a letter of eligibility is not necessary for these applicants.

In the following table I have outlined the total number of letters of eligibility to practice issued to applicants with qualifications from other countries in tabular form from 2016 to date. As many applicants are living abroad when they apply for qualifications recognition, I am unable to give information on the applications from foreign applicants by county in Ireland.

Year Eligibility Letter Issued

Number of Eligibility Letters Issued to Applicants with Qualifications from Other Countries

2016

555

2017

539

2018

540

2019 to date

179

Please note: the above table does not include early learning and care professionals whose award is already on the published list of recognised qualifications.