CALA Conference 2017


Conference Information


Workforce Development: Today’s Children are Tomorrows Future

This year the Care and Learning Alliance (CALA) conference will look at 'Workforce Development'. Given the on-going expansion of early learning and childcare this is a highly topical subject and we hope to inform delegates about the relevance of this for their work with children and young people.

We will explore some of the national and regional strategies arising from the Scottish Government's Developing the Young Workforce programme and particularly focus on:

  • Supporting essential skills development and an understanding of the world of work, from the early years onwards. What we can do and why it matters!
  • Enterprise and employment routes for young people; within the senior phase and beyond. Examining how we might develop the Early Learning and Childcare Workforce to enable us to provide high quality provision for children and families.

Conference Theme

Workforce Development: Today’s Children are Tomorrows Future

Conference Location

Culloden-Balloch Baptist Church, Wellside Rd, Balloch, Inverness

Conference Date


Keynote Speaker

James Hempsall OBE

James is the National Programme Director for England's Childcare Works programme. He leads the team of Programme Advisers, trainers and consultants working to support and challenge local authorities and early years providers to support the implementation of 30 hours of free childcare for three- and four-year-olds of working parents from September 2017.

James has worked in the sector for over 25 years, as a practitioner, provider, trainer and consultant. He has been the Director of Hempsall’s since 1999, leading a team of over 40 trainers, researchers and consultants in early years, childcare and children’s centres. He has worked with all English local authorities supporting them to implement aspects of government childcare policy at strategic and operational levels including: Childcare Act (2006) duties; Children Act (2004) remodelling; safeguarding and child protection; CWDC workforce development strategies; Early Support training and capacity building; Sure Start local programmes and children’s centres multi-agency working and evaluation; creation of sustainable childcare places; business support; and the establishment of EYDCPs and their planning. James has also provided childcare consultancy and training for major international companies and charities for nearly 20 years supporting corporate responsibility in child and young people’s protection and quality childcare practice including NEXT Retail, Thomas Cook, Cancer Research UK, and Vision Express. Hempsall’s delivers almost 1,000 events and training courses per year, operates local authority development contracts, and provides commissioned children’s centres services.

James was the National Support Director for the DfE’s Achieving Two Year Olds (A2YO) national support contract 2012-2016. He led the team of regional leads and specialist support, working with local authorities and providers to make available free early years education for the country’s least advantaged two-year-olds. This involved launching the programme with local authorities, developing local strategies, engaging providers and delivery partners, securing outreach and communications processes, establishing fit-for-purpose IT and administration systems, and building capacity and quality in the sector. A2YO concluded in 2016 with national take-up averaging 70%.

He entered the sector after lecturing in arts and design at FE level, using his arts skills with children and gradually becoming more focused on childcare, community development and team leadership. He has local authority and voluntary sector experience as: a pre-school and parent group worker; local authority arts and playworker, and play coordinator; mobile Traveller and Gypsy worker; and children’s centre manager. After which he worked in the national charity sector (Kids’ Clubs Network) in out of school development; training; quality assurance; lobbying; the management of national sponsored projects; and local authority and government consultancy.

He writes monthly columns, features and commentary in the sector press including Nursery World, Home Childcarer, Teach Early Years, and Children and Young People Now magazines. James has a strong commitment to equalities and anti-discriminatory practice. He holds a Masters in the Ethics of Social Welfare, and is a volunteer psychotherapist. He has a long-track record of serving on management committees and boards of charities, voluntary and health projects, and community groups including a children’s hospice. Currently, he chairs the small charity that publishes the free quarterly journal for children’s centre practitioners and leaders: Children’s Centre Leader. He was awarded the OBE for services to childcare in the Queen’s birthday honours list in 2015.

National Programme Director, Childcare Works -

Director, Hempsall’s -

Chairperson, Children’s Centre Leader -


Booking info

To book your place at the 2017 conference, please proceed to our booking form:

From our choice of four workshops, delegates will have the opportunity to attend two, and can make this choice on the day. To avoid disappointment, make sure you turn up and register early.

Conference Location

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Tickets to the 2017 CALA conference cost £25 per person. Click the button below to be taken to our booking page.

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If you'd prefer to pay over the phone using a debit or credit card, please telephone our Dingwall office on 01349 866749