The University of Hull is the first university in the North of England to provide ‘early years’ students with a career-enhancing qualification which focuses on professional skills.
In addition to the advanced theoretical knowledge a degree provides, students on the Early Childhood Studies degree can now show employers they have practical experience and skills of working with children at Level 6 – giving them a competitive edge in the job market once they have graduated.
‘Early years’ students focus on the learning, development and care of children from birth to eight years old.
Dr Jo Traunter, Director of BA Early Childhood Studies at the University of Hull, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer our students the opportunity to achieve Graduate Practitioner Status – which will set them apart when they are applying for their first teaching roles after graduating.
“Those working in the ‘early years’ sector have long been working to strengthen the professional practice of the workforce.
“In 2019, the Early Childhood Studies Degree Network – of which University of Hull is a member – introduced the new Graduate Practitioner Competencies, which aim to enhance the identity of the ‘early years’ workforce and strengthen the professional practice aspect of early years degree programmes across the UK.”
Graduate Practitioner Status can be granted to any student who has joined an early childhood studies degree since July 2020; can evidence the early childhood graduate practitioner competencies at level 6 and has taken a qualification that is consistent with the QAA subject benchmark statement for Early Childhood Studies.
Graduate Practitioner Status has been integrated into the new careers pathway launched by the Department of Education for the Early Childhood Education and Care sector.
“The Graduate Practitioner Competencies, are intended to make an important contribution towards building a graduate-led workforce which is better able to advocate for, and support, young children and their families,” Dr Traunter said.
The nine GP competencies are assessed through placement tasks, observations of practice and academic assignments.
Daniela Gavilanes, who has just finished her second year of Early Childhood Studies, said: “During my course, my perspectives about working with children have widened, and I have seen new ways to improve and create new paths in education that will help young children and really make a difference.
“The chance to achieve graduate practitioner status is a great opportunity for new applicants – as it will amplify their knowledge, increase possibilities for them in the workplace and ultimately will make them more employable.”