Improving diversity in early learning workforce

Recruiting more ethnic minority early learning and childcare staff.

A new project to recruit more people from ethnic minorities into careers in early learning and childcare (ELC) has been launched. 

The £140, 000 project will support more people from diverse backgrounds to take up funded ELC training and employment. 

This comes as part of a wider programme to increase and diversify the ELC workforce by recruiting more men, people with disabilities and those with language skills, as well as those from ethnic minority backgrounds. 

Minister for Children and Young People Maree Todd announced the latest funding while visiting women’s group Saheliya in Edinburgh. She said: 

“A skilled and diverse workforce is key to providing our children with high quality play and learning opportunities in their formative years. 

“We are almost doubling the free provision of early learning and childcare from 600 hours per year to 1,140 hours. This gives us a great opportunity to increase the number of minority ethnic childcare staff and to create employment opportunities across the country. 

“Working with children in these key early years of their development is incredibly rewarding and this is an exciting time to consider an ELC career.” 

The Increasing Ethnic Minorities Within ELC Workforce Project will be delivered by CEMVO Scotland. 

Colin Lee, Chief Executive of CEMVO Scotland, said: 

“We are delighted to be working with the Scottish Government to work towards increasing the ethnic diversity of the ELC workforce as this will not only help create a more culturally rich learning environment for children from across all backgrounds but also, will help create employment opportunities for ethnic minority communities that research shows experience higher rates of unemployment and poverty.”   


This two-year programme has been fully funded by the Scottish Government following the commitment to expand ELC. 

Funded ELC is available to all three and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds. Currently, there are 600 free hours provided per year – this will be increased to 1,140 hours by 2020. 

It is estimated that up to 11,000 additional workers (up to 9,000 full time equivalents) are required to fulfil the needs of expanded ELC. 

The Scottish Government is dedicated to diversifying this workforce by recruiting from demographics currently under-represented in the sector, for example, men will be encouraged into ELC through the Men in Early Years Challenge Fund

CEMVO Scotland supports ethnic minority communities in Scotland, and will report quarterly to the Scottish Government on delivery of this project. 

Saheliya provides learning activities to maximise social and economic integration, including accredited childcare training. 

Further information about the Scottish Government’s efforts in ELC can be found on our ELC careers website.


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