Childcare workers to play key role in National Cabinet ECEC vision
The Sector > Jobs News > Educator workforce to play central role in National Cabinet’s “Vision for ECEC”

Educator workforce to play central role in National Cabinet’s “Vision for ECEC”

by Jason Roberts

March 25, 2023
Child helping educators clean up

A long term vision for early childhood education and care (ECEC) in Australia, commissioned by National Cabinet ahead of last year’s Jobs and Skills Summit, is starting to take shape with the educator workforce included in one of four separately identified sub objectives.  


“The ECEC workforce is highly skilled, valued and professionally recognised and the sector is supported to attract and retain workers,” the Vision states with it also acknowledging that “Attracting, training and retaining a high quality workforce is a critical factor in achieving the vision,” as a key enabler. 


Although the sector could be forgiven for considering this document and statement as being ‘too little too late’, it is important to recognise that solving the ECEC sectors’ many challenges is a strategic endeavor that requires concrete and clear foundations to be in place, upon which good policy can then be layered on top. 


Unfortunately this takes time, but the current Labor Government has been true to their word with regards placing ECEC reform at the top of their agenda and are now close to creating a vision towards which they can work. 


This is very important and is the first such articulation of what, how and why ECEC might look like provided by a sitting Government for at least a decade which in and of itself is progress. 


Key workforce outcomes included but understandably no explicit reference to wages


The outcomes section of the Vision details what the Government hopes to achieve and what they will be actively working towards via the implementation of policy, regulations and funding, their main levers. 


These include:


  • ECEC workers are valued and respected 
  • A sustainable and experienced workforce builds relationships with children
  • Workers feel supported and are retained in the sector
  • New workers are inspired and supported to train and work in the ECEC sector


Within the Vision there is no explicit reference to educator wage resets but references such as “valued,” “sustainable,” “supported” and “retained” all imply that policy makers are aware of the importance of recognising educators true worth and commitment and over time centralised initiatives to address these matters will be launched. 


Encouragingly, on that note, the recently released Senate Select Committee on Work and Care report included a separate recommendation that the Australian Government should consider mechanisms to fund and implement any award wage increases and improved conditions changes agreed to by the Fair Work Commission as part of priority applications.


As the Productivity Commission kicks off its inquiry into the ECEC sector, there is now a host of different bodies either implicitly or explicitly calling for more workforce support in ECEC. This is a positive development and bodes well for the sector going forward. 


To view the full draft Vision click here


See below for an abbreviated version:


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