Prospects is pleased to announce a collaboration with the Royal Air Forces Association to offer better employment and childcare options for families in the RAF.
Non-serving parents in RAF families struggle to return to work after having children because mainstream childcare does not suit the needs of their forces lifestyle. Similarly, they often find there is a lack of employment opportunities available to them, because the nature of their partner's work means often they have to relocate.
Based on a scoping exercise put forward by Prospects, an initiative has been designed in partnership with the Association, which is a RAF membership and welfare charity. It will train partners of married couples to become Ofsted registered childminders. This pilot scheme is intended to work twofold because it will address a lack of suitable and flexible childcare options for parents, as well as training RAF partners into meaningful and beneficial work they can be proud of.
There is no cost to the partners wishing to become childminders, with Prospects delivering a full training course, which includes comprehensive childcare training, registration with Ofsted, a paediatric first aid course, Disclosure and Barring Services checks and insurance for their first year as a childminder.
The first Prospects-run training courses will begin at RAF Waddington and RAF Cranwell in late September, with another planned for RAF Benson the following month. 40 individuals have already signed on to the training courses and on review of the pilot’s success it is hoped the scheme can be rolled out nationally to cover RAF bases all over the UK.
Shanti Flynn, Directory of Early Years at Prospects said: “We understand how difficult it is for forces families to return to work due to constant moving, but also because current childcare provision isn’t flexible enough to meet the needs of service families, particularly with shift patterns, overnight working, deployment arrangements and before/after school care. This is why we are so excited to be working with the RAF Association to train men and women to become registered childminders to give choices and options back to RAF families.”
Jenny Eaton, Welfare Project Development Manager at the RAF Association said: “The 2017 RAF Community Needs Analysis identified lack of employment opportunities for partners of serving personnel and lack of access to high quality, affordable childcare as the top two issues facing RAF personnel. As a registered childminder, partners can run their own business from home, be their own boss, look after their own children and make a difference to the lives of other young children and their families, supporting them as they grow and develop. We are delighted that there is already considerable interest.”
The childminder project is currently being run at RAF Waddington, RAF Cranwell, RAF Scampton, RAF Coningsby, RAF Wittering, and RAF Benson. Once qualified, the childminders will be added to a database so there will always be a record of good Ofsted-rated childcare at whichever base or location serving families may be living at or moving to in the future.