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Last Updated: Monday, 2 May, 2005, 10:28 GMT 11:28 UK
Parents facing childcare crisis
Childminders are in short supply, researchers have revealed
Parents in the capital are facing a child care crisis, experts have found.

Research indicates a serious shortage of childminders. The Scottish Childminding Association blames it on women working in a wider range of jobs.

They include education and nursery work, where many more posts for support staff now exist.

Up to 1,500 families in Edinburgh are looking for a childminder this year but less than 50% are likely to find one.

Many find the alternative of a nursery place also hard to find or too expensive at up to 700 per month.

It can mean parents are unable to take up places at college or university or job offers, which has a knock-on effect on businesses.

Young women are not doing this quite so easily as they used to
Anne McNellan
Scottish Childminding Association
Researchers also found that many parts of Scotland, including rural areas, have similar shortages.

Graham Bell, head of Edinburgh's Chamber of Commerce, said many Edinburgh businesses had a shortage of skilled staff and one of the last "available pools" was that of people returning to work after having had children.

He added: "That group is mostly women who are doing the child minding, and so it is depriving us of skilled employees which would enable our economy to grow."

Anne McNellan, director of the Scottish Childminding Association, said that across the country new child minders were not coming through the system.

Early retirement

She explained: "We are not getting enough young women into child minding.

"Young women are not doing this quite so easily as they used to. I think they see the bright lights of business ahead of them and that it was they are looking at."

Some child minders believe that strict rules on training and qualifications had damaged the profession and had resulted in older more experienced carers retiring early.

However, Ms McNellan said it was important to say "good riddance" to the child minding days which lacked quality.

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