“In January of this year Part VII of the Child Care Act 1991, which governs the regulation of early years services, was replaced with new legislative provisions brought in as part of the Child and Family Agency Act 2013. The new legislative provisions allow, inter alia, for the imposition of new qualification requirements for staff working in early years services.
I am now introducing a requirement for all staff working directly with children in pre-school services to have a full FETAC Level 5 Award in early childhood care and education, with effect from September 2014 in the case of new services and from September 2015 in the case of existing services. I will also be increasing the existing minimum requirement under the free Pre-school Year Programme for Pre-School Leaders to hold a full FETAC Level 5 award in early childhood care and education to a full FETAC Level 6 award.
My Department is currently putting arrangements in place for a new training programme, the Learner Programme. Planning is underway in association with Pobal to seek expressions of interest from accredited training providers who wish to provide FETAC Level 5 or Level 6 training under this initiative. Funding of €3 million will be available to this Fund during 2014/2015. It is likely that the City and County Childcare Committees will play an important role in identifying qualifying staff and supporting them in accessing suitable training from the panel put in place through the expressions of interest process. I expect the full details, including detailed specifications, selection criteria and operational arrangements for the new initiative, to be finalised and announced shortly.”