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Childcare course helping address industry demand

By Rebecca Foreman | May 25, 2023

Pathways to early childhood education and care course makes positive impact in Australia’s search for skilled workers 

Navitas Skilled Futures is making a significant impact in meeting the growing demand for skilled workers in the childcare industry in Australia through its Pathways to Work program (PtW).

PtW is delivered through the Settlement Language Pathways to Employment and Training (SLPET) sub-program of the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP), which is funded by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs. NSF currently offers the Pathways to Early Childhood Education and Care course, which has become highly sought after due to the rising demand for childcare workers across the country. The number of childcare workers is expected to reach 142,100 by 2026, emphasising the need for skilled individuals in this sector. 

Chen Zhao, the Academic Team Leader at NSF Fairfield, highlights the uniqueness of the PtW program, which serves as a pathway for migrants and humanitarian entrants looking to enter the childcare industry. 

“For some students doing this course, they have come from another country where they had a job in a different industry back in their home country, and now maybe they wanted to change their career,” explains Chen. 

The course is designed for AMEP students with reasonably good English and the motivation to find work. Eligible prospective students are interviewed, and their educational achievements are evaluated to ensure suitability for the program. The Pathways to Early Childhood Education and Care Course not only focuses on improving language and digital literacy skills, but also provides accredited vocational training through two units from the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care via collaborations with RTO partners.

Chen says there are many success stories of students with limited prior education who have completed the Pathways to Early Childhood Education and Care course, successfully finished their Certificate III in just 10 weeks, and secured employment in the childcare sector. The course consists of approximately 160 hours of tuition, with eight weeks of training, covering language, literacy, vocational training, and two weeks’ work experience (40 hours) in a childcare centre, totalling about 200 hours. 

The demand for childcare workers in Australia is currently at an all-time high. Chen believes the industry’s high turnover and casualised workforce contribute to the shortage of workers.

Many childcare centres rely on casual positions to effectively manage staff ratios, resulting in frequent turnover as employees move between different centres. 

KU Children’s Services, one of the childcare providers which works with NSF and has centres attached to its colleges, have offered childcare placements in their mainstream centres during NSF courses. When students have demonstrated exceptional performance during their work experience, providers have offered assistant positions while they complete their childcare certificates. 

Bhavana is just one NSF success story, now working in the childcare industry. After graduating from the Pathways to Early Childhood Education and Care course at Fairfield, Bhavana talked highly of the program content, which said covered a broad range of essential skills.

“The course covered various topics, including food safety, first aid, resume writing, cover letters, job interviewing, and employability skills,” she said.

After completing work experience and gaining practical knowledge about childcare and effective communication with children, Bhavana said her confidence grew, and she acquired new skills, such as teamwork, while improving her English proficiency. 

Bhavana’s journey in the childcare sector continued as she enrolled in the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care at H & H in Granville. Following her work experience at Guardian Childcare and Education, Bhavana was offered casual employment at one of the Guardian childcare centres, where she started working in April, 2022. 

The success stories of students like Bhavana illustrate the positive impact that NSF and the AMEP are having on bridging the gap between industry demand and skilled workers. By providing targeted courses that combine language development with vocational training, NSF is helping individuals find pathways to employment and supporting the childcare industry’s staffing needs. With their dedication and commitment, NSF continues to empower migrants and refugees, fostering a skilled workforce that contributes to the growth and development of Australia’s childcare sector. 

For more information about Pathways to Work courses and eligibility criteria, see Pathways to Work.

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