Why are Early Childhood Educators so important for the Australian Economy?
by Chloe Baird
Posted: September 26, 2020
Why are Childcare Workers so important?
How can Australia’s childcare industry play a pivotal role in helping our economy recover?
The key lies in helping mothers return to full-time work. And one of the ways to do this is to ensure that childcare in Australia becomes affordable for everyone and that there are enough Early Childhood Educators and Childcare Workers to meet demand.
Women make up the largest percentage of part-time workers in Australia. Women make up 67.9% of all part-time workers, but only 37.6% of all full-time workers. However, it’s women who make up the majority of students enrolled in university, with 58.7%.
During the pandemic, women have been the most adversely affected when it comes to job losses. And more women than men are reporting an increased level of caring and housework duties since the start of the pandemic.
So if the Australian economy is going to get back on track, then we need to make sure we’re encouraging and supporting Aussie mums who want to return to full-time work, and we need to make sure we have enough Early Childhood Educators and Childcare Workers to do that.
What is the demand for Early Childhood Educators and Childcare Workers?
While the Australian government says there isn’t a skills shortage in the childcare sector at the moment, employers have noted difficulties in recruiting qualified workers.
The largest challenge faced by employers is that applicants had a lack of qualifications and experience.
From 2014 to 2019, the number of people working as Childcare Workers grew from 129,300 to 152,200. This is an increase of 17%. In the same time frame, the numbers of people working as Early Childhood Educators increased from 27,000 to 42,300. This is a huge increase of 55%.
While we are still feeling the impacts of the pandemic, the need for Early Childhood Educators and Childcare Workers remains key in helping the country’s economy recover.
What is the difference between an Early Childhood Educator and a Childcare Worker?
A Childcare Worker works in a daycare centre looking after a group of children. This could be a public or privately owned centre or could be a family daycare centre in a professional’s private home.
A Childcare Worker’s role involves supervising and interacting with the children in their care. They’ll help them develop social skills and get them ready to eventually begin kindergarten.
The role of an Early Childhood Educator involves similar duties to a Childcare Worker, but they also work to create and implement plans that help children develop. These plans could involve structured learning or less formalised learning. Early Childhood Educators, like Childcare Workers, will encourage children to develop social skills that will help them get ready for primary school and life in general. But they will also help children in other areas, like basic reading and writing. It’s also their responsibility to monitor children who display behavioural or learning issues, so that they, the Educator, can adjust their teaching style to suit the children in their care who might need special consideration.
What skills do I need to work in childcare?
You need to love working with children
This is a given! And working with children also means listening to them, understanding them, and being empathetic towards their needs. Children can be tough work sometimes, and it can be tricky to understand their mood swings sometimes. But if you love children and want to help them grow and develop into happy, healthy little people, then this will help turn your day job into a job that you absolutely love.
You need to have patience
If you’re working in childcare, then you need to be patient in order to succeed. If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t work well under pressure and gets frustrated when things don’t work out, then you need to develop patience before entering a career as an Early Childhood Educator.
You need to have people skills
Because when you work in childcare, you’re not just working with kids all day. You’re also interacting with their parents and guardians. You need to give them updates on their children’s development and wellbeing, and also raise any issues with them.
You need to be understanding
The children in your care will come from various socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. You may also have children in your care who are living with learning or physical disabilities, and you need to take these aspects into account. You must understand how different children learn and play, and how each child in your class may differ in their approach.
What qualifications do I need to work in childcare?
To become a Childcare Worker, the minimum qualification you need is a CHC30113 Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care.
To become an Early Childhood Educator, you need a bachelor’s degree in education majoring in early education. Through Open Colleges, you can study the CHC50113 Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care which can act as a pathway into university. This means that if you study the Diploma and continue your studies at university, you may be able to gain credit towards your course.
Do you want to start a career that can help shape young lives for the better? Then study a course in childcare with Open Colleges and start your journey today.
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