Research shows childminding is worth £122m a year to Welsh economy

Childminding in Wales supports nearly 10,000 jobs and is worth more than £120m to the nation’s economy, according to research published today.

And the childminders’ professional body, the National Childminding Association (NCMA) Cymru, said that for every registered childminder in Wales, three jobs are supported elsewhere in the country.

The findings, part of an NCMA Cymru study into childminding and child poverty, suggest childminding is crucial in supporting jobs and ensuring parents can find work.

The childminding sector, made up of registered childminders who provide childcare within their own homes, is supporting almost 10,000 jobs in Wales, either through direct employment or by meeting childcare needs allowing people to work.

Richard Jones, NCMA Cymru director, said: “We have always known that registered childminders make an important contribution to the lives of children and families everyday in Wales.

“What this research shows is that childminding supports employment and the Welsh economy on a large scale. It is important that local and national policymakers in Wales recognise this impact and continue to support the development of childminding. Supporting registered childminders makes sense, both economically and socially.”

According to the NCMA Cymru, the childminding sector is worth an estimated £122m per year to the Welsh economy through direct income turnover of childminder businesses and associated income for families who use the care provided by childminders.

The direct childcare economy is worth £29m, while it adds more than £93m indirectly to the economy.

The research found that the registered childcare sector in Wales employs 18,000 people with an additional 4,500 training to work in the sector, representing 2.6% of all businesses in Wales.

The body’s study also suggested there are 2,372 people working in the childminding sector in Wales, either as self-employed registered childminders or their assistants, who provide 12,000 childcare places in Wales, 16% of the total registered childcare places.

Peter Evans, public affairs and research manager at NCMA Cymru, said: “Childminding, as part of the broader childcare sector, is so important in supporting the economy and removing barriers to work.

“Numerous studies from around the world demonstrate the value of quality childcare and its importance in helping parents access work or training, and this work shows how true that is in Wales.

“Childcare businesses represent 2.6% of all businesses in Wales and it is vital the Welsh Government, local authorities and the voluntary sector work together to support the sector.

“Quality local childcare is as important to communities as housing, schools and shops and we are hoping this research project will ensure childcare remains a priority at the highest levels.”

Childcare was one of the few sectors to avoid funding cuts in the Welsh Government’s draft budget last month.

It announced it would provide £55m to extend the Flying Start scheme, which provides free childcare for two-to-three-year-olds in deprived areas, with the aim of helping an extra 18,000 children.

Flying Start offers free parenting programmes, part-time childcare, an enhanced health visiting service and language and play sessions.

The research from the NCMA Cymru appears to back the Welsh Government’s decision to continue its investment, with the body estimating at least 7,000 people are able to access employment because they have access to childminding.

Gwenda Thomas, Deputy Minister for Social Services and Children, said: “This report highlights how childminding positively contributes to our economy.

“As Minister for Children, I fully appreciate the key contribution childminders make in providing quality, flexible childcare without which many parents and carers would not be able to work, train or study.”