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NZ CHILDCARE FRANCHISE LAUNCHES IN IRELAND

by Simon Lord,
last updated 12/12/2014

Sherpa Kids, the international arm of NZ-founded Safe Kids In Daily Supervision (sKids), has opened its first care centre in Ireland

St. Joseph's National School, Clonakilty has become the first school in Ireland to offer the Sherpa Kids service to primary school children and their parents.

Sherpa Kids Ireland aims to roll the service out nationally within the next 10 years through over 50 franchisees, creating more than 2,000 new jobs and servicing over 10,000 families.

Sherpa Kids is the international brand name of NZ-founded sKids, seen here in operation in South AucklandSherpa Kids International is the international brand name of Safe Kids In Daily Supervision, which was founded in New Zealand in 1996 in response to the huge demand for professional outside-school care services which promotes and caters for each individual child. The company has been regularly honoured in the annual Westpac New Zealand Franchise Awards, most recently for community involvement.

Sherpa Kids International was founded in Australia in 2011 by sKids co-owner Dawn Engelbrecht and franchisor Vicki Prout to take the model to other countries. Since its inception, Sherpa Kids has expanded to eight countries: Ireland is the latest, where expansion will be under the directorship of Clonakilty-based John Miles who has become Country Master Franchise, Managing Director of the Sherpa Kids franchise in Ireland.

The Sherpa Kids service at St. Joseph's NS provides care to participating students Monday to Friday from 3-6pm and is led by fully-qualified and trained childcare professionals.

 Expertise with a local heartbeat

John Miles said, 'I am thrilled to launch Sherpa Kids Ireland with St. Joseph's NS as the pilot school. As a dad myself, it is important for me to know that children will be safe and happy among trained professionals and classmates. Not only will they experience an array of fun and educational activities, they will also have the opportunity to complete their homework while attending Sherpa Kids. For parents, the model takes the stress out of leaving work early or arranging to have your child be catered for elsewhere. We offer a professional on-site after-school service and look forward to working with other schools throughout West Cork in the weeks and months ahead that would benefit from our service.'

He continued, 'Sherpa Kids Ireland also offers a unique opportunity to those who have a passion for childcare and want to become their own boss with franchising opportunities.'

Speaking at the launch, Vicki Prout, the Australian-based co-director of Sherpa Kids International, said, 'Thousands of parents are frantic for affordable, high quality outside-school-hours care. More parents are employed or are working more demanding hours than ever and transport issues can make the school-to work, work-to-school transition a stressful daily chore. Sherpa Kids has answered the demand for care with a franchise model that offers school communities the best of both worlds; strong expertise in childcare and a local heartbeat with local leaders that puts kids and families first.'

Ms. Adrienne Downes, Principal, St. Joseph's NS also spoke of her delight with the new service saying, 'I am thrilled that St. Joseph's has become the first school in the country to introduce Sherpa Kids Ireland. It is fantastic to have such a professional service available in the school with its own management system to support its structured programmes through activity-based themes that support the school's curriculum. It means that the children can remain in a setting they are familiar with, with their friends, and experience a fun learning environment while parents have peace of mind. It is certainly a service that will aid many more families throughout the country.'

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