Employers urged to do more to foreground early childhood

A new report by the Royal Foundation Business Taskforce calls for early childhood to be given greater priority, saying this could unlock £45.5bn in economic benefits and that employers have a crucial role to play.

Child and adult hands touching


Investing in early childhood could bring the UK £45.5bn worth of economic benefits, with employers having a crucial role to play, according to a new report.

The Royal Foundation Business Taskforce report, driven the Princess of Wales, says the foundations for much needed skills such as communication, problem-solving, empathy, creativity and resilience can be found in early childhood and that the first five years of a child’s life are a crucial period of development.

These can be shaped by parents and caregivers, but broader society and culture plays a key role, and “businesses have a significant influence in shaping cultural norms and the environment in which people live their lives”, says the report.

It states that businesses have a role to play as employers of parents and caregivers, providers of goods and services and visible and influential community members and can reach a broad range of people.

The estimate of £45.5 billion in economic benefits is based on analysis of the benefits of investing in, for example, support for parents, including flexible working to help parents of younger children to provide for their children. It talks, for instance, about the 59% of parents who have left or are leaving their job due to personal mental health and wellbeing-related issues. It states: “Investing in working parents and caregivers would enable families with young children to make choices that empower them as employees and as
the people raising the next generation.”

The report says providing this support could lead to less absenteeism, presenteeism and attrition borne from poor wellbeing and mental health, and reduce the barriers to work.

It identifies five areas of opportunity which, if action is taken at scale, it says could have a game-changing impact for children under five, the adults around them, the economy, and wider society. That includes building a culture that prioritises early childhood; increasing access to quality, affordable and reliable early childhood education and care; and offering parents and caregivers greater support, resources, choice and flexibility with their work.

The report says this could come under  environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives. However, it points out that while there are standardised approaches for reporting against environmental impacts, there is variability in how organisations report against social impacts. Calling for ‘a more impactful, integrated, and data-driven approach to social impact’ it states: “There is significant breadth and complexity in the social issues which can intersect with an organisation’s activities, and inconsistency in the degree to which social impact considerations are integrated into the activities of a business, with responsibility often focused on one part of the organisation.”

Taskforce members have also announced new initiatives, including investment in early years apprenticeships and a Teach First early years initiative. NatWest Group is extending its lending target for the childcare sector to £100m and has put together a financial toolkit for childcare providers.

Your Franchise Selection

Click the button below to register your interest with all the franchises in your selection

Request FREE Information Now

Your Franchise Selection

This franchise opportunity has been added to your franchise selection



Click the button below to register your interest with all the franchises in your selection

Request FREE Information Now

You may be interested in these similar franchises