A Lancashire university is piloting a new qualification aimed at offering students a step up on the career ladder.
The new Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Competencies (ECGPC) programme is being piloted at Edge Hill University, making it only one in the region to offer the extra qualification.
It is aimed at Early Childhood Studies students so they can enter the workplace at a higher level, potentially putting them years ahead of fellow graduates.
Students who combine their degree with the ECGPC and complete more than 80 hours of work experience can enter the jobs market with up to a level six early education professional qualification, putting them several years ahead of graduates entering with a standard level two.
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.
“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.”
The pair worked closely with Dr Eunice Lumsden from Northampton University who led the development of the ECGPC as part of the Early Childhood Studies Degree Network.