Exploring the possibilities of ECEC
The Sector > Quality > Professional development > Exploring opportunities in ECEC with Samson, Inez, Jasmine and Amanda

Exploring opportunities in ECEC with Samson, Inez, Jasmine and Amanda

by Freya Lucas

July 03, 2024

The early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector has a number of different avenues and opportunities, with different roles available for people with all levels of qualification, expertise, skills and interests. 


From those who commence their careers by studying a Certificate III all the way through to those who hold a Masters in Early Childhood Education, it really is a career path with “something for everyone.”


The New South Wales Department of Education recently showcased this using three case studies outlining different pathways and options for those moving through the ECEC sector. 


Case Study One – Samson and Inez


Samson and Inez are the eldest of six siblings. Samson is at high school in Western Sydney. Like his sister, he’s an active member of their local Samoan community and enjoys working with children. He regularly leads Sunday School and volunteers as the assistant coach of his local under 8’s NRL team. He’ll start his HSC next year and is considering going on to university, but it just doesn’t feel like the right fit right now.


His sister, Inez, did a School-based Apprenticeship and Traineeship (SBAT) in Early Childhood Education and Care, and landed a job at a privately owned service straight after high school. She finds her work so rewarding that she has applied to undertake a Diploma in the new year. She has heard that the NSW Government is offering fee-free initiatives, so it makes sense to take advantage of this opportunity to upskill.

Following in Inez’s footsteps, Samson decides to enrol in an SBAT pathway as the first step on his ECEC career journey.


2 years from now . . .


Inez loves her role at a long day care that services many of the children from her church community. She’s about to complete her Diploma in ECEC, which she studied for free through the local TAFE, which was registered with the Department of Education as a Smart & Skilled provider.


A friend told her about the ECEC VET Scholarships (Diploma in ECEC Scholarship Program Guidelines) also, on offer through the Department of Education, and she was successful in her application for $5,000 in financial support. She put the first $2,000 payment towards a laptop, so now she can do the online component of her course from anywhere. She plans to contribute the second installment to her savings, so she can buy her first car and get to work more easily.


Samson achieved great results in his SBAT and was awarded a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care. He’s still deciding on his long-term career goals and is taking a year off from study to work in the ECEC sector.


The SBAT allows Samson to go to university whenever it feels right for him in the future, even though he didn’t get an ATAR. If he completes his Diploma through the VET sector like Inez, he will be able to enter just about any undergraduate university program he likes, not just those related to ECEC. While he takes his time to decide, he’ll get paid to provide meaningful, play-based learning to children in his community.


Case Study 2: Jasmine


Jasmine has worked in retail since leaving school. The onset of the pandemic put the company employing her out of business. She hasn’t found any similar jobs in her area, so she’s decided to re-skill  in a different field. She’s always enjoyed spending time with children and would like to make a positive impact on young people’s lives.


While a teaching qualification is something she aspires to, Jasmine needs to work while she is studying. She decides to complete a Certificate III in ECEC through her local Registered Training Organisation (RTO), which allows her to work in a preschool in her neighbourhood. The ability to work while she is studying gives Jasmine a good work/life balance and allows her to progress her education at her own pace.


Jasmine applies for a Certificate III in ECEC VET Scholarship (Certificate III in ECEC scholarships)  through the Department of Education. The first scholarship installment of $1,000 boosts her wages while she is settling in with her new employer and negotiating consistent hours. Jasmine enjoys learning the practical and theoretical aspects of early childhood education and care and is excited to enter the sector when her studies are complete.


1 year later . . .


Jasmine completes her Certificate III and is offered part-time work at her local ECEC service. She receives the second installment of her scholarship, which amounts to $2,000, which she puts towards supplies for her role.


Jasmine considers her long-term career options and thinks a move into family day care might offer more flexibility and opportunity to work with small groups of children. To give herself more options for career progression, she decides to return to her studies and work towards a Diploma in ECEC.


Case Study 3: Amanda 


Amanda is taking a few years off from study after completing her HSC. Although she received an ATAR, she knows university is not right for her at this stage in her life. She would like to earn while she learns, so that she can move out of home and gain some independence.


After considering her options, Amanda settles on the idea of educating and mentoring children. A Certificate III in ECEC is the perfect option for her, as she can work in the sector while she is studying, with her daily activities complementing what she is learning in her classes.


18 months from now . . .


After completing her Certificate III as a part-time student, Amanda enters the ECEC workforce as a room leader. Amanda’s partner, who works in the mining industry, gets a permanent job in Central NSW and she decides to join him. At first, she’s concerned that she’ll have trouble finding work in such a remote location but, because of her skills in ECEC, this isn’t a problem, and she finds a great role immediately.


She loves having a hands-on role that allows her to encourage and inspire the littlest learners of remote NSW and is now looking at options for career development. Next year she’ll start her Diploma qualification online and eventually she hopes to complete a bachelor’s degree and open her own long day care service.


Would you like to know more about the range of incentives available to those who choose to pursue an ECEC career in NSW? See here for more information.

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