Educator shortages limit OSHC availability
The Sector > Economics > Affordability & Accessibility > Educator shortages compromise the availability of vacation care for working families

Educator shortages compromise the availability of vacation care for working families

by Freya Lucas

December 14, 2023

Wendy Tate is one of the many Australian parents who are struggling to cope with the extended school holiday period in December and January as staffing shortages continue to impact the broader early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector in the outside school hours care (OSHC) space. 


Sharing her story with the ABC, Ms Tate said she has been unable to find vacation care for her two sons over the summer, leaving her with no choice but to take time off work because she is unable to find vacation care for Saxon, 11 years of age, and Ryder, nine years of age.


“As soon as those vacation care bookings are open, you need to jump on it extremely quickly. If you do not, you will miss out,” she shared.


Complicating the situation is the fact that Saxon has now finished Year 6, and is no longer eligible to access OSHC services at the primary school. 


As with many other parents in the same situation, she feels as though she has been “left without a choice”. 


Kylie Brannelly is the CEO of the Queensland Children’s Activities Network (QCAN), which represents the state’s OSHC sector, as well as the chair of the National Outside School Hours Services Alliance (NOSHSA). She spoke with the ABC saying many parents are unable to access care. 


As in the early childhood sphere of the sector, the demand for care is high, but availability is low, and staffing challenges are making the situation more problematic. 


“In some areas, particularly areas where there’s a high demand for care, I would say we have families on a weekly basis struggling to get a place in either outside school hours care or vacation care,” Ms Brannelly said.


Ms Tate said that a nationwide strategy was needed to bring more workers to the sector and allow more parents to access vacation care.


“We need investment, we need governments to recognise that support is required,” she said.


“And we really, really need a strategy that helps educators or potential educators learn about the opportunity for work in the outside school hours care (space), and a strategy to help us recruit and retain people so that we can get the best quality people working with young people.”


Read the original coverage of this story here

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