Thrive by Five welcomes ALP commitment to free TAFE to meet demand for ECEC

Thrive by Five welcomes ALP commitment to free TAFE to meet demand for ECEC

by Freya Lucas

December 16, 2021

Advocacy group Thrive by Five has welcomed a recent announcement by the Australian Labor Party (ALP) that it will provide free TAFE courses to help meet the demand for qualified professionals in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector. 


Speaking about the proposal, ECEC Centre Director Cassandra Duff said the second year of the pandemic had intensified long-standing workforce shortages and inadequate pay and conditions in the sector, describing the ECEC sector as being “at crisis point”.


“At my centre, we’ve had to semi-permanently lower my Nursery 2 space from 16 children per day to 12 children due to the lack of available educators. While lowering numbers can help centres in the short term, it reduces the amount of available spots for families which results in many of them being turned away,” she explained. 


“Free TAFE would remove a critical barrier to people wanting to train in the early years sector, including young people and women who have chosen to return to work after unpaid care responsibilities.”


In order to keep services open and sustainable, Ms Duff continued, the sector needs greater workforce planning, targets and funding to fill the supply gap.


“We also must respect our early educators with better pay and fairer conditions. This would help stabilise the sector, attract and retain the best educators available and have great benefits for young children,” she added. 


“Children are missing out on early learning and parents are missing out on being able to work because of systemic early childhood workforce challenges.”


To learn more about the ALP proposal, first signaled earlier this year please see here