Hide and seek: Supporting ECEC centres to access a hidden pipeline of early childhood educators
After more than two years of navigating COVID-19, the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector is now faced with a significant workforce shortage – just as demand is set to rise.
According to Selmar CEO, Jo Asquith, the challenges that centre directors and managers face in addressing these shortages are complex, but there are solutions available now.
“The last two years have presented complex challenges for early childhood centres. Restrictions, protocols, training, staffing, and closures have created a huge administrative and emotional burden for centre directors and managers,” Ms Asquith shared.
“Now that the sector is experiencing a major skills shortage, it is critical that sector partners work alongside centre leaders, providing solutions that ease the pressure of the workforce shortage.”
Hidden talent, distinct opportunity
It is no secret that workforce shortfalls are straining early childhood centres. It is estimated that some 6,000 workers are needed in the sector now, with more than one in eight centres operating with an ACECQA waiver to exempt them from legislated staffing ratios.
Ms Asquith says while the sector does face a shortage of experienced educators, there is a hidden talent pipeline that can help centre directors address staffing challenges.
“At Selmar alone, we’ve had more than 3,000 active learners in the last 12 months completing certificates or diplomas in early childhood education and care,” she explained. Many of these learners are now actively seeking observational placement and employment.” According to Ms Asquith, the challenge many centre directors face in taking on newly qualified educators is the limited time they have to manage the administrative and HR load that often comes with employing someone new to the sector, saying that greater support is needed.
“Education and employment partners in the ECEC sector must do more than provide people with a qualification on piece of paper. Learners, trainees, and new entrant educators must have the mindset, motivation and qualifications to be job-ready from day one.
“Partners should also look to manage and support as many aspects of placements and traineeships as possible, to take the load off already-stretched centre leaders,” she added.
Three ways to access the hidden talent pipeline
To help address the workforce shortage, Ms Asquith shared three ways centre directors can access a pipeline of motivated learners and new entrant early childhood educators.
- Find your future educators via placements:
Some 1,600 of Selmar’s active learners are currently undertaking or seeking observation placement and employment.
Placement is a perfect opportunity to see employee candidates in a real work environment, with the comfort of knowing they have foundational job-ready skills from their qualification, and ongoing support from their trainer.
Selmar connects with centre directors at the outset – to gain an understanding of their client base, operations, values, and approach to early learning. Using this knowledge, learners are matched with appropriate services to create a positive outcome for everyone.
- Access subsidised training:
With Federal and State Government funding available, and ECEC qualifications at the top of the list along with aged care, now is a great time for directors to encourage their staff to upskill and to take advantage of subsidised training.
As a Skills First and JobTrainer funded provider in Victoria, eligible learners can access a leading Selmar early childhood qualification from a little as $49.80*, or $0^ in NSW via Smart and Skilled traineeship funding, with no additional hidden fees to pay making learning accessible.
JobTrainer has been extended until December 2022 and expanded to any eligible Australian resident who is interested in enrolling in an in-demand qualification – regardless of age, employment status or prior qualifications.
- Access traineeship subsidies to support motivated talent to learn on the job:
What many centre leaders may not realise (or may not have had time to explore!) is a wage subsidy available for ECEC traineeships in Victoria and NSW until 30 June 2022. The funding supports eligible businesses who engage a traineeship, to access a wage subsidy of 50 per cent for a 12-month period from commencement, maxing out at $7,000 per quarter.
Selmar can help streamline the admin of traineeships and access the subsidy by:
- Working directly with centre directors and the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) provider removing the paperwork burden.
- Assisting with information to determine eligibility for traineeship funding.
- Coordinating the traineeship registration activity with AASN.
- Following up on registrations and support with claim forms and completions.
For more information on how Selmar can support your ECEC service to meet the workforce shortage needs, visit their website or contact workforce solutions expert, Ellie Shay on 0414 186 254.
*JobTrainer and Skills First Program: This training is delivered with Victorian and Commonwealth Government Funding to eligible individuals. Fee for service options also available. JobTrainer tuition fee will be charged at the concession rate. Click here for fees and charges.
^Smart and Skilled Traineeship: This training and enrolment fee is subsidised by the New South Wales government to eligible applicants. Fee for service options also available. Click here for fees and charges.
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