Five reasons your service should support a trainee early childhood educator

As Australia’s early learning sector continues to grow, its benefit to young children as well as to future prospects of the Australian economy are increasingly being recognised, both by the government and the general community.

Despite this political and cultural shift, the early learning sector is facing a recruitment challenge—we know there is a serious shortage of qualified, competent candidates, with early learning service providers struggling to fill the important roles of early childhood educators and Teachers.

Our members continue to report that finding suitable applicants for ongoing employment is becoming extremely difficult.

The ongoing supply of highly-skilled, capable employees is imperative to ensure that the early learning sector continues to thrive.

Organisations such as ACA and ECA continue to seek the support of state and federal governments in addressing this critical issue, and we will keep our members informed as updates come to hand.

We strongly recommend that service providers have in place a robust staff retention plan which includes a staff wellbeing program and an operations and human resources framework that supports a positive, supportive work culture. Additionally, we urge all service providers to take advantage of the existing support in place to take on trainees as part of their recruitment strategy.

Traineeships are usually offered to individuals who are new to early learning. They provide the stepping stone for job seekers to enter the early learning sector and gain valuable work experience whilst at the same time working towards a nationally recognised qualification.

Here are five reasons why you should consider taking on trainees in your early learning service:

It’s an opportunity to train new candidates YOUR way

When you take on trainees at your early learning service, you have the advantage of being able to show them exactly how things should be done correctly in your own unique work environment. Not only will they get valuable hands on experience while they learn—your trainees will also get a real sense of the support and teamwork that a positive work culture creates. Your trainees can proudly be known as ‘home grown’ in your own service.

Flexibility of trainees to meet your needs

We know that consistency is one of the keys to quality early learning services. Trainees may be included in the child to educator ratios, and can also work across a number of different ages, gaining valuable skills and experience.

Additionally, by employing an extra trainee or two you can ensure that consistency is maintained across the centre to cover staff absenteeism and annual leave which helps keeps the cost down for replacing staff.

Current environment – strong pool of potential candidates

With many Australians directly impacted by COVID-19 job losses, early learning service providers should consider the opportunities that arise from a large cohort of people looking to change career paths.

A recent report* highlighting the impacts of COVID-19 on employment indicates that 3.3 million Australians are rethinking their career paths. This includes 1.38 million Millennials and 1.31 million Generation Xers. In this context, the opportunity to train up new candidates and build on the professional skillsets in your existing team is greater than ever before.

*ING Future Focus Report released in May 2020

Creating solid career paths builds morale & increases staff retention

While it’s tempting to dismiss staff turnover as a fact of life in today’s fast-moving job market, research* indicates that the reasons employees move on are surprisingly simple – factors such as a lack of career progression, competitive pay rates and workplace culture play a key role.

Implementing a traineeship program in your service, in the context of a broader career path from Cert III to Diploma, from early childhood educator to Early Childhood Teacher and Nominated Supervisor, can ensure that your incoming trainees feel confident they are investing in a solid, reliable and professional career path in the early learning sector.

* Why Do Employees Stay? A Clear Career Path and Good Pay, for Starters—Harvard Business Review

It makes financial sense – take advantage of Government-subsided program

To assist with the recovery from the impact of COVID-19, the Australian Government is providing support to all employers who take on trainees and apprentices.

The Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements wage subsidy supports businesses and Group Training Organisations to take on new trainees and apprentices, to build a pipeline of skilled workers to support sustained economic recovery.

Any business that engages an Australian Apprentice on or after 5 October 2020 may be eligible for a subsidy of 50 per cent of wages paid to an apprentice between 5 October 2020 and 30 September 2021, to a maximum of $7,000 per quarter.

We encourage taking on two trainees at a time – taking on two means they can both support each other in their educational journey.

The subsidy is not available for trainees/apprentices receiving any other form of Australian Government wage subsidy e.g. Supporting Apprentices and Trainees, JobKeeper Payment or JobMaker Hiring Credit.

For more information about taking one or more trainees, visit the Federal Government’s National Careers Institute website and search for local Registered Training Organisations here.

Alternatively, get in touch with your local, trusted RTO if you already have a relationship.

This article was originally published on the Australian Childcare Alliance blog, you can read it here.

Paul Mondo

Paul is the President of the Australian Childcare Alliance. He brings over 15 years of experience as an early learning service provider to the role of President. Formerly the Secretary of the ACA National Executive Committee and currently President of the ACA Victorian Committee, Paul has played a key role in advocating for the interests of members at the Federal and State Government levels. He is dedicated to ensuring that all children have access to high quality, affordable early learning services in Australia.

2 thoughts on “Five reasons your service should support a trainee early childhood educator”

    Karen Kearns says:

    Hi Paul, thanks for your article. As an RTO, author and developer of learning and assessment tools I am very conscious of the need for strong mentor ship of trainees in the workplace. This is especially true for Cert 3’s who are new to the industry. The revised training package is extremely challenging and well beyond what would be consider typical for AQF 3 skills and knowledge. My experience is that most services do their very best to support trainees but must juggle this commitment with their already demanding workload. Many senior educators have little or no training in mentoring and coaching and struggle in this role. It’s time traineeship funding included funds for workplace mentoring to address this issue. Regards Karen Kearns

    Nice blog, Brief information is provided regarding Five reasons your service should support a trainee early childhood educator. Keep sharing such an informative post.

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