If you love children, and want to help them grow and develop during what many experts agree is the most important developmental phase of life, it’s natural that you might consider a career in childcare.
Whether you’ve just finished high school, or are contemplating a career change, there are many avenues to working in the childcare industry – beginning with a Certificate III level education and care qualification.
Under the National Quality Framework, at least 50% of staff in childcare centres need to have a minimum Diploma level qualification. Other educators need to have a minimum Certificate III, which can include a Certificate in Children’s Services, or a specialised Certificate in Childcare (such as home based, centre-based, teacher’s assistant, and so on).
You may be able to begin working for a childcare centre while you are completing your certificate (i.e as a trainee).
Gillian Harrison from Artemis Early Learning says her decision to start working in childcare required her to retrain, which she was able to do through CIT.
“I had been out of the workforce caring for my own family,” says Gillian. “And I decided I wanted a career change from my 9-5 office job. So I retrained through CIT and was accepted for casual work. Having brought up my own family did help me in my job, but I have met many wonderful educators who don’t yet have children and are marvellous at what they do.
“You need to have love, compassion and good communication skills to work in childcare. Personally I love all the interaction and bonding with children, and find it a privilege to be part of a child’s early life.”
Courtney Long, who also works at Artemis Early Learning, says it was a love for spending time with children that led her to a career in childcare.
“I knew childcare was the perfect job for me. Being able to watch children learn and grow is a very rewarding experience, and working in a childcare centre allows me to do that every day.
“I also studied at CIT for qualifications in Early Childhood Education and Care, which led to my employment.
“In terms of skills, I’d say patience is very important, as is working well with others and being able to communicate with the children and their parents. Building relationships is my favourite part of the job, but it’s also one of the toughest. You form really strong bonds with the children in your room, and when they get older and move into a new age group, it’s hard to say goodbye!”
Courtney says she aspires to work as a room leader, while Gillian is happy to remain in her current role. Though she says there are plenty of pathways, depending on what you want to do.
“Coming to childcare later in life, I am happier with a hands on role and not really looking to move into leadership. However, there are definite opportunities for those who aspire to them.”
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