G8 provides update on occupancy, ECT turnover and strategy progress at AGM
G8 Education Ltd has continued its positive start to the year on the occupancy front and as well as acknowledging good progress is being made on strategy implementation confirmed that Early Childhood Teacher (ECT) turnover has fallen 5 per cent since the decision to introduce higher base wage levels in October 2018.
Gary Carroll, Managing Director of G8, noted in his address that “while occupancy challenges driven by supply growth are present in some areas, all states have continued the momentum that was built in the second half of 2018.”
Mr Carroll went on to confirm that he expects 2019 occupancy to come in at the upper end of the guidance range of an increase between 1 per cent and 2 per cent provided at the company’s full year results.
In addition, the company signalled that progress was being made on the implementation of the key initiatives that underpin the four pillars of its corporate strategy.
“Building a great team” initiatives starting to bear fruit
Of note in this year’s release was an update on the outcome of the company’s decision to start to pay ECT’s above award salaries, with Mr Carroll noting that turnover of ECT’s had fallen by 5 per cent in the five months since the policy was introduced in October 2018.
Elsewhere, Mr Carroll highlighted that a range of other team-related initiatives were on track for a second half of 2019 roll-out, including a social networking and best practice sharing platform as well as enhanced leadership development programs for their centre directors.
Quality remains a key focus for the Group
As highlighted at their strategy day in November 2018 the importance of quality as an essential part of its corporate strategy has been backed by investment in capability and experience.
Two new roles were created to focus on quality and safety delivery in the last 12 months with the appointment of Jenni Marsh as General Manager of Safety, Quality and Compliance in July 2018; and Julie Madgwick, previously with the sector’s regulator, the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA), joining as Head of Early Learning and Education in December 2018.
Mr Carroll noted that “from a quality perspective we have continued to implement our asset upgrade program as well as reengineering our national quality framework training.”
The Group is also making progress in the development of its proprietary learning framework with Ms Madgwick having completed an extensive tour of the company’s network to gather feedback ahead of the completion of her education strategy which is now expected in May 2019.
Transition to centralised enquiry management system now complete
The company’s national customer engagement centre is now fully up and running with all new enquiries from across the company’s network of 500 centres being automatically directed to a centralised contact centre.
Early indications are that the transition is yielding good results with the first 100 centres brought over in late January experiencing conversion of enquiries to tours of around 80 per cent.
Mr Carroll notes that “we expect this increased tour volume to translate to increased bookings from late April” and confirmed more detail on the outcomes from this initiative will be provided in at the half year results in August.
In other customer related developments Mr Carroll confirmed that the brand architecture review of their current 23 brands is well under way and that the second half of the year will see the second phase of the Xplor child care management system platform roll out commence.
New roster system planned to launch in Q3 2019
As reported by The Sector earlier this month, G8 has agreed to partner with US-based human capital management company Ceridien to progress key strategic initiatives around workforce management and in particular the development and launch of a new roster system for the Group.
The system is expected to improve administrative effectiveness that will serve to ensure timely and compliant rosters that optimise educator to children ratios in the most efficient way possible.
The project is expected to commence roll out in Q3 of this year.