Queensland government launches ECE Workforce Action Plan
The Queensland Government has announced a new Workforce Action Plan (WAP) for the early childhood sector, which presents strategies to help boost the sector’s workforce during the years 2016-2019.
When announcing the WAP in parliament, Minister for Early Childhood Kate Jones said, “We know that quality education and development outcomes for young children depend on the knowledge and expertise of the educators.
“Our plan includes a careers campaign that will promote the value and professionalism of the early childhood workforce.
“Together we can build a workforce that has the training, skills and support needed to provide the very best services for all children and families and to grow jobs in the early education sector,” she said.
The sector currently employs 31,000 Queensland workers and the demand for workers is expected to increase by 4,000 employees over the next three years.
In 2014, the vacancy rate for educators in the sector was 14% in metro areas and 20% in regional areas. The vacancy rates were high among early childhood teachers with 27% of positions unfilled in metro areas and 44% in regional areas.
The WAP outlines key strategies to respond to the challenges associated with growing the workforce and the regulated nature of the sector. Under its key initiatives of ‘Being valued’, ‘Qualifications’ and ‘Skills’, the WAP aims to achieve its vision of “a workforce that [will] be ‘professional, qualified and valued’”.
Key excerpts directly from the plan include:
Action area – ‘Being valued’
This action area focuses on recruitment and retention, stating these can be improved if the sector “…is seen as a rewarding, challenging and important career with clear pathways for progression and recognition”.
Strategies to support this action area are:
- Launching the state’s first ECE careers campaign, Inspire the future. Choose a career in early childhood; and
- Consulting with stakeholders around potential professional registration for early childhood teachers.
Action area – ‘Qualifications’
The WAP reports that “support for priority qualifications” will assist in increasing and maintaining the supply of employees for the growing sector.
- Initiatives to support this action area include:
- Subsidising eligible Certificate III and Diploma students in their early childhood study;
- Broadening access to subsidised diplomas to allow registered primary school teachers to move into the early childhood sector more readily;
- Providing additional support and scholarships to those in regional and rural areas; and
- Implementing a program to support educators in remote Indigenous communities to gain approved early childhood qualifications.
Action area – ‘Skills’
This action area is concerned with facilitating professional development and networking opportunities for the ECE sector.
Key initiatives include:
- Launching the online resource hub Early Years Connect to provide support for educators working with children who have additional needs, which will be complemented by state-wide face-to-face professional development opportunities;
- Pilot leadership skills development projects across the state;
- Continue to support Indigenous professional capacity leadership development; and
- Support ECE teachers to focus on age-appropriate pedagogies through a classroom-based action research project in a cross-section of metropolitan and rural and remote schools, supplemented by the development of online resources.
Progress of the WAP will be monitored through the publication of an annual report.
Read more about the WAP at www.deta.qld.gov.au/earlychildhood/workforce/workforce-action-plan/