New childminders can now apply for money to ensure they earn the living wage.
An annual funding pot of £12,500 has been approved to give childminders extra help during their first 12 months of operating.
It is hoped three people per year will benefit from the scheme, which will give out top-up grants so that weekly incomes will reflect the Scottish living wage of £8.25 p/h.
The key objective is to increase the number of childminders in the isles from the current total of 15.
In a 2011 survey, 31.4 per cent of parents said lack of accessible childcare affected the amount of hours they or their partner were available to work.
Councillors in Shetland Islands Council’s Development Committee gave their backing to the Financial Support for Childminders Scheme after hearing about its several aims.
Not only does it seek to encourage employment in the childminding sector, it wants to provide the knock-on benefit of allowing parents greater opportunities to work.
It also aims to make it easier for families to remain in rural areas, where there are not enough childminders at the moment.
The scheme previously ran between 2010 and 2015. Seven new childminders were helped to set up.