There is a critical demand for qualified Early Childhood Teachers (ECTs) and child care workers across Australia, a situation that has worsened since the government introduced higher staff to child ratios in day care from January 2012 onwards. Changes in the minimum qualification requirements also came into effect in January 2014, which means that all child care workers must have, or be in the process of obtaining, at least a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care to work in the industry.
According to annual research conducted by the government to identify skill shortages in the Australian labour market, there are major shortages of ECTs and child care workers with suitable qualifications and experience.
In Sydney, 80% of vacancies for child care workers were left unfilled when surveyed in September 2013, due to a serious lack of diploma-level applicants. 75% of vacancies could not be filled in the Northern Territory and almost 40% of applicants weren’t qualified in Queensland.
ECTs in the long day care sector became in critically short supply in NSW during 2014, with half of all vacancies left unfilled and a similar rate of shortages reported in regional Queensland.
Hays Quarterly Report forecasts a continuing trend for 2015. The demand for ECTs and child care workers is expected to grow even more as additional centres open or expand in response to increased service needs and population growth.
Statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics also indicate that there has been an increasing demand for formal child care arrangements, particularly long day care services, since 1999. This is attributed to a growing number of enrolled children under five years old, and an increased rate of working mothers with children in this age group.
In Western Australia, the short supply of child care services available outside of normal working hours consistently fails to meet the rising demand, which is so great that many parents, such as nurses who work late and early shifts, are reported to be hiring au pairs instead.
The Department of Employment projects that the Education and Training industry as a whole will see exponential growth by 2018, increasing by 13.3%, which is speculated to be the second largest increase out of any industry. Employment figures for ECTs are predicted to average between 10,000 and 25,000 from 2014 – 2018.
Now, more than ever before, is the time to get qualified in this profession, especially if you have some industry experience. Get a nationally recognised qualification through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) without any further study, and help end staff shortages in this sector so that Australian children can get the care and attention they deserve. From there, you may be eligible to fast-track your career as an ECT by getting a credit exemption for up to 1 year on a university degree course.
Get Qualified Australia are the country’s leading RPL and Skills Recognition specialists. Enquire online to see if you are eligible for a Certificate III or Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care through RPL, by completing a quick free skills review.