CareersXpo cancellation leaves ECEC services ‘scrambling’ to find new educators
The Sector > Workforce > CareersXpo cancellation leaves ECEC services ‘scrambling’ to find new educators

CareersXpo cancellation leaves ECEC services ‘scrambling’ to find new educators

by Freya Lucas

July 12, 2021

The cancellation of the 2021 CareersXpo due to the latest COVID-19 outbreak has “thrown a spanner in the works” for early childhood education and care (ECEC) employers seeking to recruit new staff in Canberra, local news source The RiotACT has reported


With a well reported shortage of early childhood educators, event organiser Communities@Work was aiming to pick up some new recruits at the event planned for August 2021 after many workers left the sector during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, the publication noted.


Communities@Work Children’s Services Director Kellie Stewart told RiotACT that while the organisation is continually training new educators, it is unable to keep up with growing demand, with workforce shortages exacerbated by the casualised nature of the sector which had left many educators unable to access JobKeeper payments, and the closure of some training facilities during the pandemic also meaning the recruitment of new educators was much lower than previous years.


Ms Stewart called on the ACT Government and Federal Government to further invest in the training of educators, as well as simplifying the Child Care Subsidy system, with the goal of every child having access to high-quality early education and care.


While Communities@Work welcomed the recent Federal Government budget announcement to increase the maximum Child Care Subsidy rate from 85 per cent to 95 per cent for families with more than one child in long-day early learning and care services, and removal of the annual fee cap, Ms Stewart noted that this measure is likely to place even more pressure on the sector.


“More families will be wanting education and care, and to ensure we can meet this growing demand, we need further investment to support the ongoing training and professional development of educators,” she added.


The lack of staffing has impacted on those educators who remain in the sector, with planning and programming hours being cut, and increased demands on their time, as well as impacting children and families with rooms being closed or combined, and time spent with children limited. 


Currently advertising for more than 20 qualified educators, Ms Stewart said ongoing recruitment comes at a high cost to Communities@Work so it’s crucial to attract the right staff.


“As a local not-for-profit community organisation that invests every dollar we earn back into our community, every dollar we spend on recruitment is a dollar we are unable to spend in our community,” she told Riot ACT.


Communities@Work is Canberra’s largest local provider of education and care services, and is one of Canberra’s largest employers, employing more than 450 educators and boasting in excess of 650 employees. To read the original coverage of this story, please see here

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