Can’t find staff? You’re not alone, which is why CCC is hosting a ‘can’t miss’ webinar
It’s no secret that early childhood education and care (ECEC) services in many parts of the country are experiencing challenges in filling vacant positions.
Reviewing vacancies advertised through the Big Roles in Little Lives campaign shows that across the 19 providers who are part of the campaign, multiple vacancies exist for roles from Certificate III onwards, a representative sample of the situation faced by providers of all types.
The Sector recently spoke with Daniela Kavoukas from Community Child Care Association (CCC) about an upcoming webinar the organisation will host which aims to address the challenges, offer potential solutions, and bring together providers who are experiencing challenges in this domain.
“We have really seen an increase in the number of services telling us they are struggling to find staff. Throughout COVID-19, our already diminished workforce has become smaller – people who weren’t getting many hours decided to change careers and we saw many educators/teachers who were here on visas return to their own country,” she explained.
“We have members in inner-city Melbourne that haven’t been able to get agency staff to cover two or three staff each day over a whole week. This is impacting the directors and educational leaders who are having to leave their admin to work in children’s rooms. Children aren’t receiving the same high quality education and care because services are having to go back to minimum ratios, and the educators who are having to increase their workload to hold the fort. We cannot even begin to think how this would be in towns further out.”
When using vacancy data from the National Skills Commission, it’s clear to see pockets of problems across Australia, with massive disparities between the 2019, 2020 and 2021 data sets.
In May 2020 the ECEC vacancy ads dropped to 34 per cent of the April baseline level but as of April 2021 they were at 129 per cent of the amount in April 2019. The situation is ‘unevenly shared’ across states and territories with WA at 193 per cent and NSW at 109 per cent of baseline levels.
“What we can see from these datasets is that the lull we experienced during the pandemic is well and truly over,” Daniela explained. “Vacancy rates are increasing and the competition for staff is increasing with it.”
CCC is hosting a free webinar tomorrow night to bring the sector together, address the challenges, and “unpack the real truth” of what is happening in services, through the sharing of stories.
This, Daniela hopes, will provide CCC with “the evidence we need to prove to the government that much more needs to be done, including targeted initiatives to attract more educators, greater investment in educator training programs, and fair pay for currently undervalued (and mostly female) educators.”
“We also hope to hear some positive stories and out-of-the-box thinking, as we’ve seen at the Injune Early Learning service, which has found an innovative interim solution to the rural early childhood teacher shortage.”
To register for the webinar, please see here.