Six weeks, or six months: how long should a good placement be?
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Six weeks, or six months: how long should a good placement be?

by Andrea Isitt, Company Director of First Door Training and Development

April 15, 2019

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Sector.

With a wide range of options for studying Certificate III in Children’s Services, or Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care, some emerging professionals are seeking to gain their qualification online, and completing their practicum placement in as short a time as possible. In this opinion piece, Andrea Isitt, Company Director of First Door Training and Development, explores the implications of  limiting the amount of time spent gaining practical experience in early childhood education and care (ECEC)


I made the mistake of checking my work emails early this sunny, Sunday morning, and all my usual laid back Sunday vibes changed to rebellion. Why? Because I care about quality early childhood education and care (ECEC). I care about creating qualified early childhood professionals that know their stuff and are competent in their role as an Educator.


I hope you care too, and that you will also share your views in the comment section below on the need for producing qualified educators that have demonstrated competence in the workplace through achieving the required and substantial workplace experience. Why would we settle for anything less?


The email was from a brand new Diploma of Early Childhood student, who had just enrolled with First Door. She was confused about the required work placement hours to complete the Diploma qualification.


She had been advised by a few reputable Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) that she only needed 240 work placement hours in total to complete the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care qualification. Yet, First Door outlined to her the work placement hours set by the Government to achieve the required performance evidence, which at a minimum is 960 hours, or 25.6 weeks, or six months full-time work.


Let’s see… from a new student perspective, thinking about doing work placement to complete a qualification – what would you prefer if you had the choice:


240 hours – 6.4 WEEKS full time? OR 960 hours – 25.6 weeks or 6.4 MONTHS full time?


Of course the shorter time frame is appealing. But name me an early childhood professional that believes 6.4 weeks in a service on work placement prepares you to be a competent, Diploma-qualified Educator or Lead Educator?


The value of an early childhood qualification


The Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care qualification allows you to work as a Lead Educator in an early childhood service. Early childhood directors are voicing concern about the number of qualified educators they are employing that have very little knowledge and skills relating to their role as an educator or lead educator.


First Door and other concerned early childhood professionals do not believe that a total of 240 hours (or being on full-time work placement for 6.5 weeks) would give students the experience required to be a qualified educator showing competence across the 28 units in this qualification.


Students studying with First Door have a reputation for having much higher practical skills and knowledge in the workplace. We achieve this as our training and assessment processes ensure student’s learning is put into practice in the workplace.


Adequate practical experience to develop competence


T­he Australian Government have set the requirement for a minimum of 960 hours work placement with the aim to provide students/educators with the appropriate amount of practical experience develop workplace skills before they become qualified.


However, the recommendation by some RTO’s that a minimum of 240 work placement hours is required across the whole course, equates to an average of less than one hour in the workplace to complete each unit of the course.


First Door is committed to supporting the development of qualified early childhood professionals. We believe each child deserves your best, and we strive to be part of seeing each child flourish in their early childhood experience.

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