Building a career in childcare: we talk to a Childcare Centre Manager
by Chloe Baird
Posted: March 01, 2021
The first few years of a child’s life are the most important when it comes to their development. This is why it’s so important that we have professional, qualified Childcare Workers in Australia who are ready to meet demand.
If you’ve ever considered a career in childcare then now’s the perfect time to join this growing industry. If you love kids and want a job that’s stable, rewarding, flexible and can offer room to grow, then childcare could be it.
To get an expert’s view on things, we spoke to Stephanie Wylie about working in the early childhood education sector. Steph is a Childcare Centre Manager in Deewhy, NSW, with 15 years of experience working in childcare. The centre Steph works at caters to children aged six months up to six years of age.
Read on to find out what Steph had to say about her experiences and what it’s like to work as a Childcare Centre Manager, or scroll to the end of this article to watch our video interview.
Is there demand in the childhood education sector?
Steph says the answer is yes. “There's a high demand for Educators (in childcare).”
As a Childcare Centre Manager, she’s seeing an increase in demand firsthand; but this is also backed up by hard facts.
According to the government’s Job Outlook website, there is very strong growth expected in this sector. From 2014-2019, the sector grew from 129,300 workers to 152,200. That’s an increase of 17% in just five years. And that growth is predicted to continue, with an expected 182,300 people needed to fill jobs by 2024.
Childcare is also an important factor when it comes to keeping the Australian economy healthy. With the availability of high quality, affordable childcare, more parents can afford to return to full- or part-time work after having kids. This means we have more a more productive workforce, and happier parents able to balance the joy of raising a family while also pursuing a career.
Where to start your career in early childhood education
If you’re considering beginning a career in childcare, the best place to start is by studying a VET course.
“Straight after I finished my HSC I applied for a traineeship in early childhood education and care,” says Steph. “Once I successfully completed my Certificate III in Early Childhood, I became an Assistant Educator. From there I decided I wanted to grow and develop even more and completed my early childhood bachelor degree.”
Speaking on the topic of first starting out in childcare, Steph says, “My advice for someone who's looking into a career in early childhood would be to go and visit your local services. Speak to some Educators that are qualified and work day-to-day with children and families. Have a look at some courses that you'd like to do and see what's best fit for you and your personality.”
A typical day in the life of a Childcare Centre Manager
Steph’s job as Centre Manager is a multi-faceted role that means she needs to be on the ball at all times.
“A typical day in the life of me as Centre Manager… is ensuring the running of the business on the floor, it's supporting the family's needs, the children's needs,” explains Steph. “But not only that, supporting my staff in their growth and development as Educators.”
For Steph, the development and training of her staff is just as important as the wellbeing of the children. Because when her staff have access to the right kinds of training and support, it means that Steph knows the children, and their families, are getting the best possible service.
“As a Centre Manager, I need to ensure that I mentor and guide my staff, which we do through appraisals and development plans, which look at different goals, and what further professional development they'd like to study and do.”
The importance of qualified, enthusiastic Childcare Workers can’t be understated. During their preschool years, children are at their most impressionable and vulnerable. This means they need Carers and Educators who can help them develop mentally and emotionally and prepare them for primary school.
The importance of education and experience in childcare
Over the past few years, employers in the childcare sector have noted difficulties in filling vacant positions. The largest challenge faced by employers is that applicants didn’t have the right qualifications and lack experience.
If you want to work in childcare, the minimum certification required is the CHC30113 Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care. OC offers this as an online course that also includes 120 hours of work placement. This means that you can obtain the right qualification needed for the job while also gaining hands-on experience.
But when it comes to experience, don’t forget to include lived experiences, too. If you’ve had experience as a parent raising your own children or helping others care for their children, even if it wasn’t a paid position, this is still incredible valuable experience you can mention to prospective employers.
The skills you need to work in childcare
“When recruiting educators, the skills that I'm looking for is a willingness to learn, a passion for early childhood, and a strong communicator as we continually work as part of a team,” advises Steph.
Here are some of the other skills employers often look for in job applicants for childcare work:
If you’re prone to losing your cool and getting frustrated when things don’t work as intended, you need to develop patience before entering a career as an Early Childhood Educator. Children can sometimes be challenging to work with, and you need to make sure you remain calm around them at all times – no matter how hard they push your buttons.
It’s important for Childcare Workers to take into account children’s backgrounds, families, personal circumstances and general personalities at all times. This will help you connect better with the children in your care and ensure they’re getting the best support possible.
When dealing with kids, it can sometimes be harder to get your message across. But there are skills and techniques you can use to communicate more clearly with children and help them understand you. Even if you’re not a naturally talented communicator, there are ways you can improve these skills.
You need to always be enthusiastic whenever you’re working and remain positive. Kids are great at picking up on moods, so you need to make sure that you’re always able to give your job 100%. In childcare, a positive and passionate worker can get children excited about learning and can help transform their lives.
If you want to watch the full interview with Stephanie, check out the video below.
Where can I study a qualification in childcare?
At OC, we offer the CHC30113 Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care as an online course.
This course has been developed by consultation with industry experts to make sure it teaches you the skills and knowledge employers are looking for today.
And as it’s an online course, it means you can fit your study around your life, not the other way around. This means it’s easier for you to pursue your study goals while also balancing life’s other commitments.
Whether you’re entering the workforce after an extended break or looking to switch careers, OC can help you reach your goals.
Enrol today with OC and see where a fulfilling career in childcare could take you.