With Coronavirus lockdowns and a rush of parents working from home, the childcare sector has been under pressure with some parents losing jobs and taking their children out of paid care.
Despite this uncertainty, the industry - which is regulated by the Federal Government - is predicted to grow and is already subsidised to help parents pay the cost of fees.
The Australian Government Job Outlook website says the number of child carers in Australia grew from 129,300 in 2014 to 152,200 in 2019 - but the future is hard to predict given the changing nature of the economy and Coronavirus impacts.
Mirna Al-Gharib, an early childhood trainer at h&h since 2018 who has worked in the industry for 20 years, says the childcare industry has been affected by COVID-19, just as every other business has across the country and the globe.
“I am positive, that things will ease gradually and by following the correct hygiene practices and applying the right safety measures in the workplace, the childcare industry will continue its practices and will have knowledgeable, qualified educators who know how to deal with unprecedented events and issues,” she says.
The federal government is still forecasting there will be 182,300 child carers working in Australia by 2024 - 30,100 more than there were last year, which is nearly 17% employment growth between 2019 to 2024.
An IBISWorld report into the childcare industry says total families using approved childcare may fall during 2020 as parents withdraw their children due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Attendance at childcare centres has increased over the past decade, with this trend projected to continue over the next five years, albeit at a slowing rate,” the report says.
The future is good for those who love children
An early childhood education career is for those who not only enjoy working with children but also have a genuine affinity for being a central part of a child’s development.
“Early Childhood Education is a great pathway for people who understand that they are working and caring for innocent and peaceful human beings: children,” Mirna says.
“Where they find joy, they build a strong bond with children, they feel that the children are part of their life and become like their second family.”
As childcare is a regulated workplace, the right qualifications are in demand to be able to work in a career where you nurture young children’s wellbeing while also helping develop their social, emotional, physical and education.
The CHC30113 Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care is the minimum qualification to work at regulated care services like childcare centres, long day care, kindergartens, occasional care and family day care. It is also a popular qualification for people wanting to work as nannies, run children's programs or playgroups.
Formal qualifications will help you stand out from the crowd and land the early childhood job of your dreams. Working in early childhood is life-changing, and many choose to undertake learning on the job by completing a traineeship.
“A good certificate III student needs to understand the importance of child safety, supervision practice, duty of care and a sense of belonging for children and their families who have entrusted their children with ‘trustworthy, qualified and loyal educators’,” Mirna says.
The number of childcare and early education businesses increased exponentially during the last five years. There’s opportunity for workers at all levels to pursue an education career, from Teacher’s Aides and Childhood Educators to those that will go on to gain further qualifications.
Those who hold the Certificate III qualification will be able to assist teachers and educators in the classroom, performing duties like:
- Setting up the classroom before children arrive, ensuring everything is ready for the activities for the day
- Setting up outdoor play spaces
- Preparing healthy snacks for children
- Supervising small group activities
- Assisting teacher with activities such as reading books and helping with puzzles, to support children’s learning
While in the past it was common for some unqualified childcare workers to learn their skills on the job, nowadays it’s extremely hard to find a position if you don’t hold any qualifications.
Workers that go on to take the CHC50113 Diploma of Early Childhood Education & Care will progress their careers and qualify for jobs like Centre Managers and Directors.
“Diploma students expand their knowledge and skills, especially when they study at h&h,” Mirna says.
“They gain a great awareness of the human mind and nature, from a newborn to a school-aged child. They grasp the instilled richness of becoming effective educators who reach the stage of being able to plan and implement a curriculum for children that is enriching, challenging and stimulating.”
Diploma-qualified staff are able to develop and implement service's policies and procedures and use their daily self reflection and assess their practices in line with the Approved Learning Framework's principles and practices.
“They learn how to become part of a management team and how to become effective leaders. Diploma study is a great opportunity for students to achieve their goals in the early childhood industry,” Mirna says.
h&h Accredited Training offers small class sizes and supportive traineeship programs. Our flexible courses fit in with your schedule, so you can study whenever and wherever you choose to.
We give our childcare and early childhood education students a top quality support system, with training provided by real people with real industry experience ready to help you any time.
Job seekers will find greater opportunities and openings in some regions and suburbs over others. There is also the opportunity to work part-time in the childcare industry, which suits some people.
While there is uncertainty in all industries following the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no doubt that childcare will remain an in-demand service for parents who need to work.
“We are going through a storm and after the storm the sun will rise."