SKA (in part) cancels contracts for 5 percent of the roughly 4,000 children it cares for. The number of children must be rebalanced with the number of available staff, SKA says in a letter to parents.
Consequently, about 200 children could no longer go to one of the 50 SKA sites as of mid-August or September 1. Some employees are moved to another group or location and even some groups disappear completely.
The reason is the shortage of personnel in this sector. Due to strict legislation, low course enrollment, competition from primary education and high absenteeism due to corona, 40 vacancies are now opened at SKA out of a total of about 480 employees. There are very few educational personnel on the market to solve this shortage now, says SKA. Not even the self-employed.
Last year, nearly 16,000 vacancies arose in childcare (day care, out-of-school care and playgroups). At year’s end, 5,000 of them were still open, nearly a third. In the first quarter of this year, 4,700 new vacancies were created, of which 4,400 are still open until the end of March.
SKA interference is not an isolated incident. At the end of last year, the largest childcare organization in the Netherlands, Bartow, put out-of-school care children in Utrecht on standby. In May, a number of sites and groups from Number One, a childcare organization with about 40 sites in Veldhoven and Reusel, among others, were closed. For 200 of the 3,500 children, childcare has ended.
trying to divide the pain
It often happens that a child care center closes a site or group for one day, because there are not enough staff at that time. Like the Hero Children’s Centers in Harlem and Sparndam. “We have to deal with shortages everywhere,” says spokesman Astrid Baughermann. So we regularly have to close groups for one day.”
She says they are trying to divide the pain. “Usually we see some shortages, such as vacancies and long-term sick employees, arriving a week early. You can’t always fill these positions, you can announce the closure in advance. But if someone calls in sick in the morning it is much more difficult.”
Nobody I interviewed denies there is a serious staff shortage in the sector, says Galt Gilsma, president of the Parents’ Interests Association, Poinke. “But some organizations are better able to retain employees than others. As a parent you have very little insight into this. As an organization you have to watch carefully what drives people to leave, otherwise you won’t know the cause of the growing shortage.”
He just wants to say: Does SKA have 40 vacancies due to natural attrition, or have so many people left in recent years and months? And why did they leave? A group of angry parents wrote to SKA that they know what the problem is. The number of staff and the influx of new educational staff has remained the same in recent years. “The problem arises (and thus) due to the increased influx, along with a significant increase in the number of children, in 2021. Thus SKA is not sufficiently capable of retaining staff.”
In the last quarter of 2021, 23 percent of childcare workers moved to another job. This is in line with the average in the healthcare sector. Employees leave for various reasons. For example, they get better working conditions elsewhere, such as fixed working hours and a higher salary.
Elementary education is particularly attractive to staff who qualify as teaching assistants, especially if they are still currently working in an out-of-school care facility. They get more pleasant working hours, a bigger contract and a consistent 13 months. “What you see is happening now, with this huge amount of money that has been spent on education to eliminate the learning disadvantages caused by coronavirus: the staff in childcare is simply being bought away,” Gilsma says.
In the video below, reporter Roel Schreinemachers explains the plans the new government has put in place for childcare:
Loes Ypma, president of the Child Social Welfare Branch Association, also admitted this photo. “I am very concerned about outflow. If you work in an after-school care institution, you start after school and work from about 3 to 6:30. This is a free-hours contract. Lots of young people work at the front desk. Little to rent or buy a private house “.
And so they disappear from out-of-school care as soon as they want to take that step, Ypma is seated. “30 percent of BSO employees want to work more hours. If we want to keep them, we urgently need to collaborate with education. We think the solution really lies in composite jobs, so working partly as a teaching assistant, and partly as a reception assistant.”
Although we haven’t gotten there yet, it has continued at the same time. “More new people are needed, for example by making our sector more attractive to side entrants.”
Addressing the staff shortage
Childcare is working! Today we are organizing a “hackathon” to find solutions to the shortage of employees in this sector. In the coming years, the sector expects to need an additional 50,000 people, due in part to the upcoming changes that the Cabinet wants to implement. According to the organization, “You cannot solve this by hiring differently and better. You have to look for other solutions for that.”