Childcare and training for Merseyside
Liverpool’s Lister Steps is providing vital support to parents, children and people looking to enter the childcare profession
02 July 2013
By providing flexible and affordable childcare to families in Tuebrook, Liverpool, Lister Steps allows parents in one of the most deprived areas in the UK to go back to work or training, confident that their young children are safe, fed, and being taken to and from school.
‘They provide quality childcare with flexibility, opening early in the morning and not closing until late to give after-school support,’ explains Gill Mason. Gill is Enterprise Director at Vauxhall Neighbourhood Council (VNC), which provides training to staff of local employers in the education sector through its training arm, Merseyside Accredited Community Training and Assessment Centre (Mactac).
‘Lister Steps gives a holistic package of support that is needed by individual families in the area. Their staff are experts in a number of specialist areas, such as sensory play for children with disabilities, or special care for children who have suffered trauma. I don’t know where those families would go without them,’ says Gill.
Lister Steps, which was created and is run by local parents, has a social mission that does not end in childcare. It also provides training opportunities and placements for young people wishing to enter the childcare profession, as well as the opportunity to achieve on-the-job qualifications for its staff through VNC, Mactac and City & Guilds.
‘They invest in their own team by developing the individuals and giving them the chance to train based on their own needs,’ says Gill. ‘We had a young girl who was a paraplegic and had been told she would never be able to work with children, but Lister Steps worked with her, reorganised their room layout and gave her an apprenticeship. They see the potential in people and are very understanding of peoples’ needs.’
Mactac provides training opportunities in the Merseyside area in vocational education courses, including Early Years, Key Skills and Basic Skills. Apprenticeships with Mactac are available to employers throughout Merseyside, one of which is Lister Steps.
‘We have worked with Lister Steps staff for many years,’ says Gill. ‘We worked with the people who started it up at the very beginning to expand their offer by qualifying their staff from entry level to level 4, as well as training their senior managers. Whatever their need is, VNC will find the funding to support the training needs of Lister Steps.’
‘This is a unique partnership between two charities,’ continues Gill. ‘It’s been a real joint effort to get more support for learners in the city and to benefit organisations such as Lister Steps. It’s a wonderful place where people can get trained and get into work.’