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How you can join The Business Taskforce to support the early years workforce

The Royal Foundation Business Taskforce for Early Childhood is partnering with The Co-op Levy Share to support the training of apprentices for careers focused on early childhood, the period from pregnancy to age five.

The Business Taskforce was convened by Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales in 2023 to galvanise business action on early childhood. As a member of the Taskforce, Co-op have committed to raise £5 million over the next five years to create more than 600 apprenticeships. Business Taskforce members, NatWest Group, Unilever UK&I, Ikea UK and Ireland, and Iceland Foods have joined The Co-op in pledging a combined £1million over the next 12 months.

We welcome more businesses to join us.

How does it work?

If you’re a levy payer who has unspent levy, the Levy Share Scheme enables you to transfer funds to support other employers across the private, public, voluntary and community sectors.

The Co-op has created an online matching service, co-operating with like-minded partners, to pledge unspent levy funds and share them in a targeted way to support the provision of apprenticeships for underrepresented groups, removing some of the administrative burden and cost.

Why focus on the early years workforce?

During early childhood, from pregnancy to the age of five, our brains develop at an amazing rate – faster than at any other time in our lives. Our experiences, relationships, and surroundings at that very young age, shape the rest of our lives.

Providing strong support for children, parents and carers during these most preventative years is essential and can have a life-changing impact.

From health visitors to play therapists, midwives to nursery workers, and family support workers to early years teachers, there are a wide variety of careers working with children and families.

By helping to develop the capacity and skills of the early years workforce we can help more children to have fair opportunity to reach their full potential, and together create a happier and healthier society.

If you’re a business who would like to join our levy pledge, find out more here.