From education to employment

Training – The Key to Employee Retention in a Recruitment Crisis

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It’s no secret that there is currently a recruitment and retention crisis in many industries in the UK: the care industry, the NHS and education are struggling to not only recruit but retain high-quality staff to serve the needs of the population. The early years sector is no exception, and most settings are aware of the challenges they face as they grapple with the issues of recruiting staff and keeping them, under-funding, and working out how they will fulfil the needs of the new 15 hours of ‘free’ childcare for 2-year-olds, extending to those aged 9 months and over from September.

The Importance of Understanding Employee Turnover

A recent business survey by Parenta revealed that half of the businesses surveyed lost more than 10% of their staff last year, and over a quarter have not measured staff satisfaction in the past 12 months. It’s no wonder then, that in the same survey, 75% of nursery managers said that they are struggling to not only recruit but also retain high-quality staff.

To tackle retention challenges effectively, we need to understand why employees leave in the first place. Conducting exit interviews and staff surveys can provide invaluable insights into areas for improvement, such as inadequate compensation, limited development opportunities, or dissatisfaction with management practices. However, while some challenges may be beyond immediate resolution, fostering a culture of appreciation and investing in employee development can significantly enhance retention efforts. One of the first things to address is ways to make employees feel valued – offering them opportunities for personal development through CPD and career progression through training programmes.

Factors Influencing Employee Retention

High employee retention rates generally indicate that there is good employee morale and job satisfaction and that people find the business an enjoyable and rewarding place to work. This is not exclusively related to pay but encompasses morale, effective teamwork, staff benefits, holiday entitlements, company ethos and values, availability of flexible working arrangements and significantly, opportunities for career development.

The Role of Personal Development Plans

Business owners will tell you that personal development plans offer a roadmap for individual growth within an organisation. By conducting skills assessments and identifying desired qualifications, businesses can create pathways for career advancement through training, mentorship, and additional responsibilities. Recognising that career aspirations vary among employees; personalised development plans give individuals a chance to pursue their professional goals while contributing to organisational success. It’s a win-win for the business.

The Benefits of Apprenticeships

As the early years sector navigates the complexities of its own recruitment and retention crisis, prioritising employee retention in the form of staff training and development is key to success. By fostering a culture of continuous learning, training and development, businesses can not only weather the current challenges but also thrive in an ever-evolving landscape.

Businesses which train their staff, retain their staff – and apprenticeships are a cost-effective way of doing this. By upskilling their workforce and investing in apprenticeships, business owners are guaranteed to boost morale, cut recruitment costs (preventing skills shortages), and attract top talent, ensuring a skilled and motivated team for the future.


In conclusion, training and development play a crucial role in employee retention, especially during a recruitment crisis. By understanding the reasons behind employee turnover, fostering a positive work environment, and investing in personal development plans and apprenticeships, businesses in the early years sector can overcome the challenges they face and build a skilled and motivated workforce for the future.

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