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Childcare training funds announced

The Scottish Government has announced £460,000 of funding for childcare training and development places as ministers seek to enhance pre-school education and care.

More than 130 postgraduate places are being created at Aberdeen and Strathclyde universities for graduates in early education and childhood practice and more students will receive financial support towards their professional development.

Education Secretary Michael Russell said "high-quality" learning and childcare benefits children, their families and the whole community.

In its independence white paper published in November, the Scottish Government pledged to offer 1,140 hours of childcare to all children from the age of one.

This would lead to an increase of up to 35,000 jobs in nurseries and early-years centres, ministers say, and would boost the economy by giving parents the opportunity to work.

Mr Russell said: "By giving parents new opportunities to return to work, boosting family incomes, it supports sustainable economic growth.

"That's why we are building on our 2007 expansion of the pre-school entitlement - working to increase funded early learning and childcare for three and four-year-olds, and the most vulnerable two-year-olds, to 600 hours each year from the autumn, through the Children and Young People Bill.

"I'm determined to ensure the development of the workforce can match the scale of our ambition and we will say more about this in the new year.

"As a first step, we are immediately investing in more than 200 new opportunities in early-years training for teachers, and in Professional Development Awards for childhood practitioners.

"By boosting skills, ensuring high quality and recognising the value of those we entrust to give our kids the best start in life, we can also attract the brightest and best to take up the jobs created by our expansion of childcare."

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