London, 7 March, 2022: Bright Horizons UK is making a significant investment in its Early Years practitioners’ salaries and benefits. The Work+Family solutions, back-up care and nursery provider is spending more than £10 million to ensure that it offers some of the most competitive salaries in the UK’s Early Years sector, and to recognise differences in the cost of living across the UK.
The investment recognises the important role Early Years practitioners play in the first five years of a child’s life. This has been emphasised recently by The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, led by the Duchess of Cambridge. The Royal Foundation has declared that “early childhood represents one of the best investments we can make for the long-term health, wellbeing and happiness of our society,” and has called upon providers to ensure the Early Years workforce is properly supported.
As part of Bright Horizons’ investment, the minimum salary in its London-based nurseries will be above the Voluntary Living Wage. The country’s second-largest nursery provider is also removing the age-related National Minimum Wage (NMW) for those under 23 so all employees will be on or above the NMW for over 23-year-olds. This commitment will also see the introduction of new pay bands for all other nursery roles including housekeeper, chef and kitchen assistants.
Bright Horizons is also adding to its award-winning benefits package with a focus on colleagues’ emotional, physical and financial wellbeing, recognising that improved practitioner wellbeing not only benefits the practitioner, but also the quality of their care and education provision for the children and families they support.
Ros Marshall, Managing Director UK at Bright Horizons, said: “Our hard-working practitioners deserve recognition, investment and support. We welcomed the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood report last year, which highlighted that the Early Years workforce is one of the most important there is. For investing in a child is ultimately an investment in our future society and transforming early childhood requires parents, carers, and everyone around the child to play their part. Bright Horizons is committed to ensuring that skilled and well-supported practitioners are key to the quality of our Early Years services. We continually review and adapt our rewards and benefits for our colleagues and remain very proud of our industry-leading training and development, which provides our colleagues with a rewarding career path.”
Janine Leightley, HR Director at Bright Horizons, said: “Our aim is to change the way people think about early childhood. The first five years of a child’s life lay the foundations for their future. The work of care practitioners is some of the most important work there is and Bright Horizons believes that investing in the practitioners who care for and teach our children can have lifelong implications in a child’s development.”
This significant financial investment follows Bright Horizons’ recent top ranking amongst the UK’s Best Workplaces™ for Wellbeing (2022) by Great Place to Work®, a global leader on workplace culture. This is the first-ever listing of Best Workplaces for Wellbeing and adds to Bright Horizons’ other accolades such as being on the Best Workplaces list for the last 17 years, as well as on the Best Workplaces for Women list since its inception.
This year, Bright Horizons is dedicated to having 700 people enrolled onto its apprenticeship programme in the UK. This will include 300 new recruits joining the scheme and enhanced apprenticeship support for 400 existing employees.