Aoife McCarthy, executive at ICTI Ethical Toy Program, outlines the Family-Friendly Spaces initiative which provides childcare to factory workers in China.
The Family-Friendly Spaces scheme was launched in 2016 to support “left behind children” in China, whose parents had migrated to work in major Chinese cities but were unable to take their children with them.
Around 23m children are separated from their parents in Mainland China and Aoife tells us that research by ICTI Ethical Toy Program shows childcare is one of the main reasons why factory workers leave their jobs. Family-Friendly Spaces help to plug the childcare gap during the school summer holidays, providing secure and well-equipped facilities at factories or within local communities.
Since it was established, the initiative has been set up in 42 factories and benefited over 4,000 children and 4,500 working parents. Aoife outlines how IETP is now aiming to support 30,000 children through 100 Spaces, publicly recognising 50 factories as Family-Friendly by the end of 2025.
She explains how the Spaces are not just purely for childcare – they also provide social benefits for families, along with measurable business benefits. For example, IETP data shows that of workers provided with a Family-Friendly Space, 91% intended to stay working at their factory for over two years.
“With increasing labour shortages, improving worker retention and attraction rates at factories is a key enabler of a secure supply chain,” says Aoife.
Although the Covid-19 pandemic caused disruption to Family-Friendly Spaces in factories, the number has increased in 2022 and, along with targeting help for 30,000 children, 2023 will also see IETP further develop its relationship with UNICEF.
Carmel Giblin, president and CEO, IETP adds: “Children, in the toy industry above any other, are our priority and I am delighted to launch this programme, which will show the leadership and commitment of the global toy industry to children.”
To find out more about the programme and how to get involved, read the full article in the November issue of Toy World here.