Edge Hill is the only university in the North West offering students a step up the career ladder thanks to a new qualification being piloted.

Early Childhood Studies students who opt to complete a new qualification will be able to enter employment at a higher level putting them potentially years ahead of fellow graduates.

The new Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Certificate (ECGPC) are being piloted at eight universities across the UK, with Edge Hill being the only one in the North West offering the extra qualification.

Students who decide to combine their degree with the ECGPC and complete over 80 hours of work experience can enter the jobs market with up to a level 6 early education professional qualification, putting them several years ahead of graduates entering with a standard level 2.

Dr Sally Hester and Dr Julie Sealy from the Department of Social Sciences brought the ECGPC to Edge Hill. Senior Lecturer Dr Hester, said:

“Students have the choice to opt in to the competencies running parallel to the BA (Hons) degree.

“By spending time in real workplaces relevant to their future careers they can achieve the competencies and ultimately enter employment at leader level, in positions that might normally take a person a number of years to reach through career progression.

“The ECGPC will help potential employers as it clarifies the skills graduates have practiced and gives them a portfolio of evidence to showcase the nine competencies.”

Dr Hester and Dr Sealy have worked closely with Dr Eunice Lumsden of the University of Northampton who has led the development of the ECGPC as part of the Early Childhood Studies Degree Network (ECSDN).

The competencies include advocacy for children’s rights, child protection, partnerships with parents and caregivers and inclusive practice. Dr Julie Sealy, Senior Lecturer in Early Years Education, said:

“We’re delighted to have been asked to pilot this qualification as we’re always looking for new ways to make our degree different and put our graduates ahead of the competition.

“As part of the ECSDN we will be working closely with Dr Lumsden and other colleagues over the coming months and years to help support and evaluate the new competencies.”

Find out more about studying Social Sciences at Edge Hill University at edgehill.ac.uk/socialsciences/