Key ECEC sector stakeholders step up actions and initiatives to address workforce shortages
The Sector > Jobs News > Key ECEC sector stakeholders step up actions and initiatives to address workforce shortages

Key ECEC sector stakeholders step up actions and initiatives to address workforce shortages

by Jason Roberts

November 27, 2022

The workforce challenges faced by the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector throughout 2022 are well known and have catalysed stakeholders from across the sector and beyond to take a range of measures in a bid to combat them. 


As we close out 2022, the urgency to attract new educators and teachers to work in ECEC is likely to increase, particularly as the additional demand, via improved affordability, for education and care the Federal Government’s recently passed Cheaper Child Care bill will be felt from July 2023 onwards. 


This article aims to highlight the breadth of the most recent workforce related initiatives and developments in play and in so doing highlight all efforts, whether they be advocacy, policy, program or financial related. 


Recent workforce related actions taken by advocates and peak bodies: 




Recent workforce related initiatives from the Federal Government:


  • Around 180,000 fee-free TAFE and vocational education places, including in ECEC, will be delivered in 2023 in areas of highest skills needed as part of a one-year National Skills Agreement with the states and territories commencing 1 January 2023.


  • The creation of a new Pay Equity and Care and Community Sector expert panel at the Fair Work Commission, as well as a specialised research unit to explore wage related issues in female dominated workforces where gender pay gaps exist such as ECEC with strengthened powers to order pay increases. 


  • A proposed reform of Australia’s Industrial Relations law with special focus on improving pay and conditions, pay equity and job security in care based sectors such as, ECEC, where wages have historically been lower and workforces female dominated.


  • 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.


  • From 1 July 2022, the Australian Apprenticeships Incentive System was launched to help to increase completions, providing financial and nonfinancial support. Government support is focussed on priority occupations, including ECEC workers.


Recent workforce related initiatives from State and Territory Governments:


  • The New South Wales Government will offer over 5,500 emerging ECEC professionals with a new scholarship program worth $3,000 for students studying a Certificate III in Children’s Services, and up to $5,000 for a Diploma level ECEC qualification.


  • The Victorian Government intends to extend its current scholarship program to include a further 700 ECEC scholarships, of between $12,000 and $34,000 each and additional incentives between $9,000 and $50,000 for teachers and educators moving into or re-joining the sector, and for priority services in places that struggle to find qualified staff.


  • The Western Australian Government is piloting a Job Ready pre-employment program with the aim of attracting and upskilling more early years professionals to the local workforce that combines a short course and work experience. 



A recap of actions taken by approved providers to attract educators:


  • Offering higher wages for both educators and early childhood teachers as part of enterprise agreements or outside of them. Above award pay rates across the sector vary with governance type and provider sizes with levels of between three to four per cent more common. 


  • Introducing a range of leave based opportunities to employees such as four weeks paid parental leave, multiple rostered wellbeing days, work from home options and and in some cases shortening working fortnights, for example offering nine day fortnights.


  • Extending discounts on ECEC services to educators who have young children enrolled at the service they work in. These discounts can range from 25 per cent, through to 50 per cent and in some cases can reach as much as 95 per cent of fees. 


  • Defined and well structured study pathways to enable educators to transition to higher qualification levels and secure more responsible roles in organisations. These initiatives can include financial support with extensive study leave included also. 


  • Enrolling in the Rebatable Employer Benefits scheme which permits employees to pay for some of their day to day expenses out of pre tax income and in turn creates a small increase in take home pay. These schemes are available to not for profit provider employees.


It is important to understand this is not an exhaustive list. 


There will likely be many more initiatives that are being worked upon that we are not yet aware of. The workforce shortage being experienced by the ECEC sector is severe, and will take time to resolve but it is encouraging to see the work being done to try and mitigate it. 


For new entrants to the ECEC sector seeking employment be sure to consider the full range of opportunities that are presented to you. And for approved providers seeking new team members recognise that your peak bodies and advocate groups have a voice, so be sure to leverage yours too. 

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