The Learner Fund had two primary aims:
- To provide subsidy funding to support existing staff working directly with children in registered Early Years Services and registered childminders to meet the mandatory minimum qualification requirements which came into effect on December 31st 2016 i.e. Level 5 in Early Childhood Care and Education on the National Qualifications Framework (NFQ) (or equivalent)2.
- To provide subsidy funding to support existing Early Years practitioners who have an ECCE Major Award qualification at Level 5 on the NFQ (or equivalent), to attain a Level 6 qualification, in order to meet ECCE contractual requirements which also came into effect on 31st December 2016.
Since the Learner Fund was established over 5,000 early years practitioners have been supported through the Learner Fund to raise their qualification levels in Early Childhood Care and Education in line with the National Qualifications Framework.
As well as providing subsidies for Levels 5 and 6, as above, Learner Fund has also provided bursaries to Early Years Graduates who have completed qualifications Level 7, 8, 9 on the National Framework.
The 2021 Learner Fund Graduate and Childminder bursary is open to applications from August 16 to October 1, 2021.
Contact your local City/County Childcare Committee (CCCs) for further details. Their contact details are available at https://myccc.ie/