Goodstart agrees to boost ECT pay rates in a bid to address workforce shortages
Early childhood education and care (ECEC) provider Goodstart Early Learning has announced that it will increase the wages of its early childhood teachers (ECTs) by ten per cent, with some to receive even greater increases, in response to ECTs leaving the early learning sector for higher paid jobs in schools.
Goodstart will also increase wages for qualified educators with rates to be set at 3-5 per cent above the award rate that applies in the rest of the sector, something Goodstart CEO Julia Davison said was in recognition of the vital role that early childhood teachers and educators play in child development.
“Great teachers and educators are absolutely crucial to providing quality early learning and the benefits that it delivers for child development,” she said.
“We want to be able to pay more teachers and educators more because of the value of the work they do. From July 1, we will match the starting salaries offered to teachers in state schools, and also offer our educators rates 3-5 per cent above award rates,” she said.
During the negotiations for Goodstart’s new enterprise agreement (EA), the provider noted a goal of ensuring teachers and educators “feel valued and recognise the critical role they play through providing wages and conditions well above what’s offered in the rest of the sector.”
“I think the overwhelmingly positive response we’ve received – with 94 per cent of the workforce voting in favour of the new EA – shows that we achieved the right outcome,” Ms Davison said.
“We have to look after the people looking after our children. These conditions are all significant steps forward in the way we value and recognise early learning professionals, and my hope is the standard we’re setting at Goodstart will be echoed across the sector.”
Job vacancies across the early learning and child care sector have jumped to record levels, Ms Davison continued, with 4600 vacancies across Australia in May, up 70 per cent on pre-COVID levels.
Better wages and conditions will be crucial to attracting and retaining qualified staff in early learning and childcare settings, she emphasised.
“Our educators provided an essential service that governments required to stay open right through the worst of the COVID lockdowns,” she said.
“It has been a stressful time for our people, and attrition rates have risen as a result.”
“Yet early childhood offers careers for people that are rewarding both financially and personally, where educators make a huge difference in little people’s lives.”
Goodstart, Ms Davison said, wants to offer educators the opportunity to “be the best they can be”
As part of the changes, Goodstart is increasing time out of the room given to educators to help them plan their lessons as well as enhancing existing professional development and learning programs.
A fee increase will be implemented by Goodstart to cater for the changes, however Ms Davison emphasised that this will be below the long term sector average.
“We’d like to be able to do more, but we can only do so much without fees becoming unaffordable for families,” she explained.
Goodstart employs more than 1500 qualified teachers and 13,000 qualified educators, caring for 70,000 children in 670 centres across Australia, meaning the changes will have an impact on a significant part of the ECEC sector.
To learn more about Goodstart Early Learning please see here.