Province gives TRU professor grant to research childcare professionals

Thompson Rivers University (TRU) will be receiving a $575,000 grant to research support and recruit Early Childhood Educators (ECE’s).

Minister of Children and Family Development in B.C., Katrine Conroy, was at the university Wednesday (July 17) to announce the financial support. The funding comes from her ministry which has invested $6.3 million throughout B.C. to improve the province’s ECE programs.

The money will be used on various projects and include peer support and mentoring; the hope is that it will create positive reinforcement for those with a passion for childcare.

Dr. Laura Doan will be leading the project for TRU; she is an associate professor in the Faculty of Education and Social Work and will lead research, which will help determine why ECE professionals leave the field. In B.C. up to 50 percent of professionals leave the industry within five years which limits the growth of the sector.

“We will be doing interviews, focus groups,” Doan tells KamloopsMatters. “We will be doing online surveys with an aim to understand from ECE’s what their early experiences have been in the projects, in the communities of practice.”

 “We know how important the recruitment, retention of Early Childhood Educators(ECE’s) is,” Conroy said at a press conference

The project will also help experienced educators, as their many years spent in the industry will be crucial to its success, according to Doan.

The program will include 228 ECE professionals across 19 facilities; 12 will be situated at each location, half beginners and half experienced professionals.

“I hope more ECEs will come on board,” Minister Conroy says. “(Hopefully) more young people will think, ‘This is a career I want to do.’”

There are bursaries available to ECE ’s on the Early Childhood Educators of B.C. website, students can receive up to $4,000 a semester.

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