Affinity a finalist in tonight’s Australian Training Awards
Queensland-based Affinity Education Group is a finalist in tonight’s Australian Training Awards, in the Australian Apprenticeships – Employer Award category. Award winners will be announced this evening, in a ceremony at the International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour, Sydney, New South Wales.
The Australian Apprenticeships – Employer Award category recognises those employers who have made innovative improvements in training which provide beneficial outcomes for their apprentices and/or trainees in Australia, and to their local community.
Linda Carroll, Head of People and Culture at Affinity Education Group, said that the recognition by the Australian Government was a credit to Affinity’s company mission: to inspire and nurture individuals to reach their full potential.
“Affinity’s apprenticeship and training programs were established due to our confidence in our people, that given the right opportunities and support, they will become industry (sic) leaders for early childhood education,” Ms Carroll said.
In January 2017, Affinity Education Group established the Affinity Learning Academy (ALA), intended to deliver workplace-based accredited training and professional development.
“In less than two years, our programs have delivered opportunities and produced outstanding results in terms of staff engagement, retention, productivity, and career development for our educators, early childhood teachers and centre-based managers across Australia,” she said.
Using a ‘blended learning’ approach, the ALA offers Affinity employees a combination of online learning, centre-based learning, and access to sector experts who deliver on-the-job coaching and assessment,” Ms Carroll said.
The provision of on-the-job coaching and assessment is delivered by 11 ALA staff, who meet up with apprentices and trainees at their childcare centre monthly to provide face-to-face support through each program.
“This personal, and workplace-based application of knowledge and skills, delivered at the conscious expense of cost-effectiveness, has proven crucial to the success of our programs, increasing employee engagement, learning and confidence as they progress,” Ms Carroll said.
The ALA partners with 10 vocational education and training (VET) providers nationally to deliver certificate to diploma levels of qualifications. The ALA is also expanding operations to include a pre-employment program designed to ensure individuals have the optimal tools for employability in the childcare sector.
The blended learning structure has enabled many staff to complete nationally accredited qualifications while engaging in full-time, part-time or casual work. Each ALA program leads to a further career pathway opportunity, and the ALA is also affiliated with undergraduate and postgraduate courses with higher education providers.
“Our employees are given the education and foundation to deliver their primary role – education and care of children aged five years and under – along with Affinity’s established customer promise to ‘deliver outstanding professionalism’”, Ms Carroll said.
The ALA currently has more than 300 active apprentices and trainees completing workplace-based training and professional development opportunities along with enrolments in the following programs:
- Lifelong Learning Program for educators
- Accredited Learning Program for educators
- Shining Stars Development Program for outstanding employees in any centre-based role
- Affinity Way Leadership Program for Centre Managers and Assistant Centre Managers
- Early Childhood Teacher ‘Connect’ Program for teachers (in conjunction with Griffith University)
- Best Area Manager Development Program
- Business and Leadership Program
To date, Affinity has delivered more than 34,000 online training courses and 3,287 Leadership Programs across the company’s 167 centre locations nationally.
“At Affinity, our Learning Academy, company culture and future employment and training strategy is focused on delivering outstanding professionalism in early childhood education and care, and we are pleased to receive government acknowledgement that we have our team on the right pathway to achieve this,” Ms Carroll said.