Date Released: 06 April 2017
A delegation from the SIPTU Big Start Campaign will attend a meeting with Clare County Council councillors to inform them of the problems and growing crisis within the Early Years education sector on Monday, 10th April, at 3.00 p.m.
Those attending on behalf of the Big Start Campaign will include Early Years educators, childcare managers and providers.
Claire Casey, an Early Years educator from Corofin, said: “I love my job but I feel that the Government is talking the talk but not walking the walk when it comes to properly resourcing and financing the Early Years Sector.
“A lot of workers in the sector can only work 38 weeks a year. Then they are forced to go on the dole for the remaining 14 weeks. Due to our low wages, we only qualify for the lower rates of Jobseekers’ Benefit.”
Claire Bolton, an Early Years educator from Mountshannon, said: “I put myself through college achieving a first class honours BA in Early Childhood Care and Education. I am still paying off the cost of loans needed to get my qualifications. However, the level of my education goes unnoticed as my wages equate to that of someone with less qualifications.”
She added: “Early Years educators are not being recognised as the professionals that they are. I am currently living from pay cheque to pay cheque. It’s very sad especially when you have a family at home and have to constantly get by on a very tight budget.”
SIPTU Organiser and Big Start Campaign co-ordinator, Anne Craughwell, said: “The Early Years Sector is in a crisis and needs to change. Our key message is that to deliver quality Early Years services for our children, we need to attract and retain qualified and competent educators in the Sector.
“This can only be achieved if the qualifications and experience of these professionals are recognised with appropriate pay and conditions of employment which will require adequate investment by the State.”
For further information on the Big Start see www.bigstart.ie or visit the Big Start Campaign Facebook Page.