Early Learning Connection is seeking Diploma educators wanting to upskill to a Degree in Early Childhood Education
Baringa Early Learning Centre in Canberra is tackling the ongoing challenge of female workforce participation and the early childhood education and care (ECEC) workforce crisis head on through an innovative partnership between the University of Canberra, the Canberra Institute of Technology, Early Childhood Australia and community based early learning centres.
The initiative, known as Early Learning Connection, seeks to introduce flexible and accessible career pathways to empower and holistically support women seeking to start, or further a career in early childhood education.
“Be brave! Any person of any background and age can excel in a career in early childhood education. If you love children, or find passion in what you do, working in the ECEC sector is not hard and all barriers can be overcome.” Min-Zhi (Misty) Herman-Li
Supported by funding from the National Careers Institute, the initiative aims to provide women with a range of supports and incentives that allow them to make the most of their desire to work with children.
For those already working in the sector, the initiative provides support by allowing Diploma qualified educators to try introductory units at the University of Canberra, putting them on the journey towards becoming an Early Childhood Teacher.
“I started because I was ready to get back into the workforce after having my three boys and I needed something flexible and a workplace that would be understanding of my parenting needs. I never expected it to be anything serious, but here I am years later, studying for a Bachelor of Education!” Carmen Ulrick
Educators will be given financial assistance to study introductory units towards the Bachelor of Early Childhood and Primary Education, and after 12 months of study, students will have completed over 30 per cent of the requirements for a Bachelor degree.
Class times will provide flexibility to support educators’ personal commitments. Participants will also be supported to commence or continue working at a community based early learning centre while studying, allowing them to remain connected with the sector while earning an income and being mentored to develop their leadership skills.
ECEC Employers across the ACT have come on board the program, working together to invest in the importance of the profession. Partners include Baringa Early Learning Centre, Communities at Work, MOCCA – Manuka Childcare Centre, Community Services #1, Woden Community Service, North Belconnen Community Association.
“Early Childhood Education is my career of choice, and it has been for almost 30 years.” – Wendy Perry
In terms of holistic support participants in the program will not only receive peer support from other women completing the program, but will also have access to an educator coach, to help with the balance of work, study, life commitments and most importantly, wellbeing.
By participating in the program students will also receive support to develop their goals, identify any challenges, and be empowered to embrace career progression. Parents of children under five years of age who are participating in the program can also receive support to access ECEC for their child/ren.
For those who have yet to commence a career in the ECEC sector, the program also makes it easy for women who would like to join the profession. Participants study for free, introductory units towards a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care. Participants in both streams will need to commit to a 12 month engagement with the program.
More information is available here. Applications close 24 June 2022, and prospective participants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible as places are strictly limited.
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