Over 70 initiatives launched by major ECEC stakeholders to fight workforce challenges
The Sector > Quality > In The Field > Over 70 initiatives launched by major ECEC stakeholders to fight workforce challenges

Over 70 initiatives launched by major ECEC stakeholders to fight workforce challenges

by Jason Roberts

September 13, 2022

Faced with a persistently challenging workforce environment, key stakeholders from across the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector continue to invest heavily in a range of initiatives that focus on improving the current status quo of the sector and advancing the goal of achieving a sustainable, highly skilled workforce. 


Notably, there is a significant divergence between the volume of commitments made across the states and territories of Australia with South Australia punching well above its weight and Western Australia not featuring at all. 


The Complementary New and Enhanced Workforce Initiatives Summary, a recent document produced by the Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority (ACECQA), was created as a supplement to the National Workforce Strategy: Shaping our Future report. The document provides a comprehensive summary of work being carried out by all ECEC stakeholders including service providers, higher and vocational education and training institutes, national, state and territory regulatory bodies and authorities, educators, teachers and governments. 


Spread across the six key focus areas highlighted in the National Workforce Strategy, 71 different initiatives have been launched, all with a particular emphasis on achieving the overarching objective of creating a sustainable, high-quality workforce. 


This article aims to provide some context around these efforts and to raise awareness to the broader community of initiatives that may be of value to their specific circumstances and help in their efforts to resolve workforce challenges being experienced at the service level. 


Please note the list has been arranged via Federal and then State and Territory sections to aid readers to locate programs that may be relevant to their services or roles. 


Federal/peak body initiatives 


  • Following extensive consultation with the outside school hours care (OSHC) sector, NOSHSA coordinated the development of a new nationally accredited Certificate III course for new OSHC educators. 


  • The Australian Government will establish a new agency, Jobs and Skills Australia, which will be responsible for researching workforce trends and providing advice about current and future skills needs. The Government has committed to a tripartite approach to the new agency, which will work with governments, employers and unions, and use data and insights from industry to inform the government labour market and skills policy.


  • A range of early childhood teaching courses are being presented by Edith Cowan University through literacy units in early childhood education with updated AITSL guidelines that reflect contemporary terminologies and research.



  • The Australian Government will offer up to 5,000 new students a $10,000 a year bursary throughout their teaching degree. Bursaries will be available to high school leavers who achieve an ATAR of 80 or above, First Nations students, and students from regional areas, with a top up payment of $2,000 for placements in regional areas.


  • The Australian Government will provide 465,000 Fee Free TAFE places, including 45,000 new TAFE places. In addition, the Australian Government has announced up to 20,000 additional university places to provide more opportunities for Australians to find a spot at a university. 


  • From 1 July 2022, the Australian Apprenticeships Incentive System will help increase completions, providing financial and nonfinancial support at the time the apprentice needs it. Government support is focussed on priority occupations, including ECEC workers.


  • The Australian Government has committed to strengthen the ability and capacity of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to order pay increases for workers in low paid, female dominated sectors and industries, such as the ECEC sector. 


  • Australian Government Child Care Discount for Early Childhood Workforce introduced in 2022 allows childcare providers to discount the gap fee their employee pays when the employee’s child is enrolled at a service where they work or that their employer owns.


  • The Skills Assessment Pilots seek to maximise the contribution of Australia’s onshore migrant workforce and address skills shortages and includes free, fast-tracked skills assessments for the Child Care Worker (Group Leader) occupation for eligible migrants who are residing in Australia.


  • The Australian Government is investing $9.1 million in the National Intermediary THRYVE Pilot led by SNAICC, to support community-controlled early childhood providers to improve quality and increase access to training for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander educators.



  • Be You Early Learning supports early childhood services to build a positive, inclusive and resilient learning community where every child, young person, educator and family can achieve their best possible mental health.


  • In conjunction with Be You, peak body ELACCA launched a bespoke training program in mental health and wellbeing for its members, aimed at area managers. The online training program will aim to strengthen area managers’ ability to embed mental health and wellbeing initiatives across multiple early learning and care services.


  • JobTrainer provides funding for anyone to have access to low-fee short courses and a range of approved qualifications including certificate III, IV and diploma level qualifications to work in the early childhood and school age education and care sectors. 


  • ELACCA launched the ‘Big Roles in Little Lives’ in 2021, a campaign that promotes the value and benefits of a career in early learning and care to secondary school students and career-changers.


Australian Capital Territory initiatives




New South Wales Initiatives


  • The NSW Government announced a $281 million package to provide for existing scholarship and support programs that includes partnerships with higher education institutions to create innovative and accelerated career pathways into ECEC careers. Financial incentives to providers to help improve retention of their workforce will also be provided.



  • The NSW Government has significantly increased investment in scholarships, including a record number awarded in July 2022, to provide financial assistance and support for new and existing members of the workforce to complete early childhood teaching degrees.


  • The University of Sydney Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) Birth to Five program has been designed to meet emerging needs of the sector with an honours pathway and increased proportion of professional experience days in early childhood settings. 


Victorian initiatives


  • The Victorian Government expanded Victoria’s Innovative Initial Teacher Education (IITE) program to support additional eligible Victorian ECEC educators to upskill to become qualified early childhood teachers across 2022 and 2023 intakes. 



  • The Victorian Government continues to iterate and deploy its integrated promotion campaign to attract people to the early childhood sector by raising awareness of career opportunities and the support available to study and join or rejoin the sector.


  • In December 2021, the Victorian Government released its updated Kindergarten Workforce Strategy after significant consultation with the sector on the state’s broad ranging strategy to support the attraction, retention and quality of the kindergarten workforce. 


  • Victorian Government Early Childhood Scholarships of up to $25,000 are encouraging and supporting people to study to become early childhood teachers, with up to $34,000 available for Aboriginal people to study through the Early Childhood Aboriginal Pathway Scholarships




  • The Victorian Government has developed a suite of new wellbeing initiatives and supports for the sector including on-demand videos and tip sheets. Free, targeted training for early childhood service leaders was also developed including an online webinar and interactive online resources and support.




Queensland initiatives



  • To help meet the increasing demand for teachers and educators across Queensland, the Department of Education launched an Early Childhood Teacher and Educator Recruitment Campaign, ‘Be one of the people our youngest people need’, in September 2021.


South Australian initiatives



  • The new pre-service teacher program in SA will identify the best graduate teachers early, increase their understanding and access to the range of employment opportunities in the department and build capability to be ‘job- ready’ upon graduation.


  • The Department for Education is committed to increasing the number of Aboriginal teachers in public education in South Australia. Amy Levai Aboriginal teaching scholarships provide financial support for Aboriginal people interested in teaching.



  • The South Australian Future Leaders Program identifies teachers with leadership potential and facilitates an individualised, targeted development plan for emerging leaders. The program supports up to 100 aspiring leaders each year, with one cohort specifically dedicated to early childhood leadership.



  • The South Australian Department for Education’s professional learning academy, Orbis, partnered with the University of Melbourne to co-design and deliver a Preschool Literacy program and Numeracy program to support preschool educators to plan and implement high quality curriculum that improves literacy/numeracy learning within the context of the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF).


  • The Site Leader program in SA provides new preschool leaders access to a 12-month coaching and mentoring program to support them as they navigate the requirements and expectations of their new role.


  • UniSA has designed its ECEC degree programs to provide multiple employment opportunities for pre-service teachers with the Master of Teaching program having a year focused on birth to five years, including a Graduate Teaching Performance placement in a preschool setting.


  • Flinders University has launched a new Bachelor of Early Childhood Education (birth to eight years) degree, re-designed the Master of Teaching (Early Childhood) degree focussing more on current needs in birth to five years education and more experience teaching birth to two years and five to eight years, and will launch a new two-year Master of Teaching (focussing on birth to five years) later in 2022 to meet sector demands.


  • The Industry and Employer Immersion Program allows students to gain multiple opportunities to learn from employers about work, employment and the skills that are valued in the workplace. The program targets students in years 7–10 and will provide better education and employment outcomes for students and industry by embedding hands-on career education in schools.


Northern Territory initiatives






Tasmanian initiatives



  • The Tasmanian Government continues to advocate for the increased recognition of education and care within the Community Services Industry Plan 2021–2031 with $3.3 million in funding over three-years committed to address the skills shortage.




  • University of Tasmania has a range of flexible early childhood teaching pathways: A combined double degree program [the Bachelor of Education (Primary) and Graduate Certificate in Early Childhood Education] and Exploration of Associate Degree level program. 


To read the Complementary New and Enhanced Workforce Initiatives Summary and other Workforce Strategy documents, visit ACECQA’s National Workforce Strategy page

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