Migrated from the UK to teach, but lack of ECEC is a barrier
The Sector > Economics > Affordability & Accessibility > Migrated from the UK to teach, but lack of ECEC is a barrier

Migrated from the UK to teach, but lack of ECEC is a barrier

by Freya Lucas

February 22, 2024

Michelle Barker, along with her husband and young children, migrated to Australia from the UK in January last year to teach, responding to the well publicised shortage which is impacting much of the country. 


“I was invited by the NSW Government (to work) because there is a shortage (of primary school teachers),” she shared with media source Kidspot.


On arriving, however, she was unable to work because of a lack of early childhood education and care (ECEC) which meant there was nowhere for her own children to go while she was educating others. 


“There was no possibility of me working,” she said. “I was offered a job in Sydney, but I had to turn it down because I just couldn’t find any childcare.”


“The whole process seemed very supportive. Australia is here, they’ve got your back to get your feet on the ground and start working, but there was a block in the way because there was nowhere for my child to go.”


Not being able to teach, or indeed to draw an income, was a stressful experience for the young family. 


“We had some funds left from the sale of our house in the UK, so we could afford to live, but Elsie (her young daughter) was on waitlists for six months before she was offered only one day.”


The process of finding ECEC was complex, she shared, explaining how she was on 14 individual waiting lists, and was phoning each to check in monthly, as well as sending emails. 


“Every centre was lovely and supportive and understanding, and they were trying their best, but there wasn’t much around,” she said.


While her husband soon found work, Ms Barker was left with fewer options, ultimately deciding to start a business which she could operate from her home as a way of supporting her family. 


To read the original coverage of this story please see here

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