Athlone entrepreneur, Regina Bushell, was a keynote speaker as Seas Suas, the representative body for early learning and care providers, held its annual conference in the Sheraton Athlone Hotel on Saturday last.
Seas Suas members came from all over the country, from Donegal to Cork, Galway to Dublin for the full day event, where they were addressed by key figures from the Department of Education, Department of Children and Youth Affairs, Túsla and childcare expert June O’Sullivan.
Speaking after the event, Seas Suas Chairperson and Grovelands Childcare Managing Director Regina Bushell declared it a great success.
“It was very heartening to see so many providers in attendance here in Athlone, coming from all over the country to engage in a discussion about the future of the Early Learning and Care sector. There are many challenges in the sector at present, in the areas of training and administration for example, however the main issue is that of staffing, and the lack of qualified candidates emerging.
“Given the staffing crisis we are now experiencing nationwide we would appeal to the workforce development steering group of the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to introduce an apprenticeship style system for the sector. Finally, we are looking to set up childcare provider networks nationwide which correspond to electoral areas, which will give providers a stronger platform of representation when it comes to bringing issues that affect them to the DCYA and other bodies,” Regina remarked.
Topics discussed during the conference included the rollout of the National Childcare Scheme, legislation for school age childcare, education inspection in the early years, development of professional education and training programmes for the early learning and care sector, workforce development plan and future regulation in Early Learning and Care sector.
For more information please visit www.seassuas.ie