Hopetoun service closes due to unfilled educator vacancies
The Sector > Economics > Affordability & Accessibility > Hopetoun service closes due to unfilled educator vacancies

Hopetoun service closes due to unfilled educator vacancies

by Freya Lucas

April 29, 2024

A long day care service in the Victorian community of Hopetoun has closed after it was unable to fill two vacancies for qualified early childhood educators, leaving parents in the community distressed and unable to work. 


The service was the only early childhood education and care (ECEC) available in Hopetoun, leaving families struggling as they either cut back on working hours, or leave work entirely. 


At the time the service, operated by Uniting Wimmera closed, 17 children were enrolled. Since the closure the provider has shared that while there were two advertised vacancies which were unable to be filled, a third educator had tendered their resignation, leaving the provider in a precarious position. 


Information obtained by the ABC showed that there were five applications for the two original vacant roles, and that of these, three people were interviewed, none of whom met the minimum standard for employment. The other two applicants withdrew their interest in the role. 


Yarriambiack mayor Kylie Zanker said the closure was ‘devastating’ for the community. 


“No matter what role parents hold, it’s vital in their community and it is sad that unfortunately they have had to cut back hours or may potentially have to if they can’t find childcare (sic.),” she said.


Heather Sherwell is one of the parents affected by the closure, and said the timing is both ‘good and bad’ for her family, given that she is on maternity leave and due to give birth shortly, meaning she is able to care for her two year old son at home for the time being. 


The closure of the service in the medium term leaves them with a confronting choice – one parent leaving the workforce, or the family relocating to a metropolitan area. 


“It’s one of those things I don’t want to have to change but if push comes to shove, we don’t really have an option and we’re going to have to [move],” Ms Sherwell said. 


Read the original coverage of this story here

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