Kimberley program helping to alleviate ECEC workforce shortages
The Sector > Quality > Professional development > Kimberley program helping to alleviate ECEC workforce shortages

Kimberley program helping to alleviate ECEC workforce shortages

by Freya Lucas

November 11, 2022

A new training program, a first for regional Western Australia, is aiming to address the shortage of early childhood education and care (ECEC) professionals and provide more availability to working families in the region, while also helping parents to gain qualifications and join or return to the workforce. 


The lack of availability in the Kimberley is forcing families to leave the region because they can’t get care for their children, something Kimberley Regional Development Australia acting director Kim Brown said amounted to a crisis in the region.


“There’s only two childcare centres in the Kimberley actually operating at licensed capacity and centres have wait lists of 100 to 200 plus people,” she told the ABC.


At the conclusion of the newly designed ten week course seven workers will be ready to join the ECEC sector. One of the students, Sophie Papasergio, was inspired to take the course based on her own challenges as a mother, and being unable to access care for her daughter. 


Ms Papasergio was able to take her daughter with her to work, until she started crawling, but since then working has been difficult. 


The new program, which also features a creche option to care for the children of those participating in the program, is a collaboration between eight Broome service providers, and is being taught by North Regional TAFE.


Support for the students during and after the course is provided by Nyamba Buru Yawuru’s Rise Up to Work program. Nyamba Buru Yawuru youth training coordinator Amy Andison spoke with the ABC, sharing that for many parents, it’s challenging to enter the workforce when young children are in the home. 


“Crucial to the success of a program like this is that clearly defined employment pathway and the huge amount of wraparound support,” Ms Andison said.


“That’s what we’re really invested in is long term sustainability of employment for these young women.”


To read the original coverage of this story please see here.

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