Anyone who works in the Early Childhood sector is aware of the industry-wide struggles we are having with staffing. There are a mixture of things that contribute to this, the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic were felt across the world and in our industry, Educators were unable to work and left the sector, the ones left behind became overworked and a lot of the dynamics changed, but these problems have been developing long before the lockdowns.
Over the last 10 years, staffing in the Early Childhood industry has been slowly getting worse. The industry currently has an average of 21% turnover rate, 33% in regional areas, which is well above the normal amount. Staff are leaving the industry because they are worn out from being overworked and overburdened due to a lack of staff. This is causing a loss of experience and industry knowledge as less than one-third of Educators in Australia have been in the industry for 10 years or more.
There has also been a shift in focus on the Early Childhood Education and Care courses Educators must take to work in the industry. The courses are focusing more on ‘Education’ over ‘care,’ which has increased the difficulty of these courses, creating a ripple effect of only 41% of Students finishing these courses.
Other factors contributing to this crisis are a large number of new centres being built, the newly funded 3-year-old kindergarten program and the increased Child Care subsidy. These are beautiful programs put in place by the government, allowing more children access to quality care. However, it is leaving a struggling industry to find more staff to fill all the places needed. There is a 19% increase in Educators required, just to fill the current empty roles in childcare centres across Australia.
Aurora Early Education has felt the impacts of these struggles and has started to think of different ways to help solve our staffing shortages. We have created a position for a full-time Educator trainer that will work across our 3 centres to help build the knowledge of our current staff and new staff that we have starting. This has given us the capacity to take on staff that are newer to the industry and build up their knowledge and experience ourselves.
Creating a supportive environment for our Educators has never been more important and with this trainer, there will be a more consistent skill level from all our educators at Aurora. We are bringing in Employee Assistance Programs and have our leaders working alongside all our Educators to ensure they feel connected to the Aurora Village. We can get through this hard time together and create something even more wonderful that allows more high-quality Educators to join the industry.