The Scottish Childminding Association’s latest recruitment drive is targeting 20 new childminders in the Highlands, as well as more than 100 more in other areas.
This current campaign builds on last year’s efforts to address a growing need for childcare in the rural Highlands and Islands.
During the rural recruitment pilot project in 2022, the SCMA recruited 60 new childminders, many of them located in the Highlands and Islands.
A spokeswoman for the SCMA said that last year’s recruitment helped new childminders with training, funding and support to register with the Care Inspectorate and get their childminding businesses up and running in underserved areas.
Once registered, new childminders will have access to a minimum £750 business start-up grant.
Linsey Paul, 28, from Ardersier, joined through the pilot recruitment project last April. Despite not having previous childcare experience, she said the SCMA guided her through every step of the way and she’s now meeting a need in the local community.
“I saw the advert and it was like a lightbulb moment. I was so excited because something just clicked, and I knew this was right for me.”
Helping the community
An SCMA spokeswoman said that many new childminders are similar to Linsey. It isn’t necessary to have previous care experience, and most come to the profession from a variety of different fields.
After first seeing the recruitment advertisement in Ardersier, Linsey did some quick research and found that a childminding career could meet a lot of her needs, including allowing her to set her own hours and look after her own two-year-old daughter.
But more than that, she also knew it would give her a chance to help her community.
“There is no other available childcare in the village. Some parents have to travel long distances to find before and after-school childcare.
“I knew it would really help families in the area to have this particular childcare option on their own doorstep.”
Even while she was still in the setup phase, Linsey said that she began noticing a real demand for her services in the community: Her waiting list filled up while she was still in the process of registering with the Care Inspectorate.
Childminders a ‘God-send’ to local families
Her service, ABC Childminding, welcomed its first children in October 2022. She provides before and after-school care and allows parents some flexibility in timing if they need it.
One parent, Linsey Cameron, said that ABC Childminding has been a lifeline for her family.
“Linsey has been an absolute God-send to families in Ardersier. We have needed a childminder in the village for a long time.
“I previously had to rely on friends to look after my girls and it was very stressful trying to arrange who was going to be looking after them each day and it could be confusing for the girls.
“Linsey has provided continuity and my girls absolutely adore her. They can’t wait to see her anytime they are due to go!”
How to get involved
Including the new childminders in the Highlands and Islands, the SCMA is working to recruit 115 new childminders in targeted rural and urban areas. The targeted areas in the north include priority areas of Thurso, Tongue, Bettyhill, Durness, Portkerra, Kinlochbervie, Skye and Portree.
The SCMA is also recruiting on the Islands of Arran, Coll, Tiree, Cumbrae, Bute, South Uist, Kintyre Peninsula, Rosneath Peninsula, Foyers and Stratherrick.
The scheme also targets specific regions of Dundee, Edinburgh, Dumfries and Galloway, Glasgow and East Renfrewshire.
You can learn more about the recruitment project and resources available to new childminders online. The SCMA’s recruitment drive is supported by funding from the Scottish Government and other local authorities and agencies.