A new drive to increase the number of early years education and childcare practitioners available to families in Bath and North East Somerset is under way.

The council has launched a new early years workforce recruitment and careers website, Shape Your Future, to help attract and retain high-quality early years staff and childminders.

The move comes in response to significant recruitment and retention issues felt both nationally and locally in recent years, which has led to a shortage of qualified early years staff and a lack of choice for parents and carers.

The Shape Your Future (https://www.shapeyourfuturebathnes.org.uk/) website acts as a ‘one stop shop’ for anyone interested in working in the early years sector and provides an insight into how the career offers a rewarding choice, with local practitioners sharing their experiences of their work and their career progression.

Early years vacancies in the private, voluntary, school nursery and wrap-around care sectors will also be listed on the site.

Councillor Paul May, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “Early years practitioners play a vital role in a child’s development and helping them to reach their potential.

“Working in a preschool, nursery, wraparound setting or as a childminder offers a fulfilling and flexible career where you are making a tangible difference to young lives. There’s so much opportunity for anyone looking to join or return to the sector.

“Our aim is to attract a diverse workforce that provides high quality early learning experiences for young children across Bath and North East Somerset.”