SuniTAFE Fill The Gap

04 Dec 2023

SuniTAFE is working towards filling the local and national shortage of qualified early years educators with the introduction of a new delivery mode. 

Future and current students now have the option to complete a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care (CHC30121) or Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care (CHC50121) through a blended delivery mode or a sector delivery mode.

Registered trainees or those currently working in a regulated early years service can undertake the sector delivery mode where students meet together online with their teachers fortnightly as well as completing online learning.

Blended delivery is a combination of on campus delivery and online topics, which includes placements in a regulated early years service that is arranged by SuniTAFE

“The traditional model saw training delivered completely in the classroom, but now all our learning content is available online, which makes completing the course a lot more accessible, especially for those already out in the workforce,” Early Years SuniTAFE Teacher Michelle Etherington said. 

“The new delivery modes are allowing a learn and earn option, which is extremely beneficial not only for those looking to get into that profession, but for employers. 

“There is currently a skills shortage in the Early Years industry with many having experienced a tough time during COVID and educators leaving the sector so now we are trying to rebuild our workforce not just locally but nationally as there is a critical shortage of educators. 

“Early years is a growing industry with an increasing number of children needing to attend childhood education prior to school with families also wanting long daycare centres to help them balance their work and family commitments. 

“It’s a demand that won’t be going away and is something we need to meet.” 

Not only are the delivery modes new, so is the course content. 

“There is a perception that we’re delivering old content but it’s a brand-new program and they are both new nationally accredited courses, so the content is very current,” Ms Etherington said. 

“The delivery modes have been created to compliment the new course content and current qualifications.”

TAFE Kids director Amie Johnson knows all too well the importance of providing training in the Early Years Sector. 

“My theory is if you are going to work every day for most of your life then you might as well do something you love and working with children really is incredible,” she said. 

Since taking on her role as director five years ago, Ms Johnson has seen firsthand her fair share of new employees and SuniTAFE students who have undertaken placement at TAFE Kids. 

“Those that have come from SuniTAFE seem to have a great understanding of children’s development as well as have a wonderful insight into working as a team, which is all great aspects of working in Early Childhood,” Ms Johnson said. 

“To now be able to join the workforce straight away and complete their course at the same time is life changing. 

“Most people can’t afford to just study full time, so this is a great opportunity, and a lot of people learn better working on the job at the same time as studying the content.” 

As a mother of six, being able to work and study at the same time has been the “perfect” combination for SuniTAFE student Hayley Walker. 

Ms Walker is currently working as a Mallee Family Care Kindergarten Inclusive Support (KIS) worker, while also completing her Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care. 

“I absolutely love kids and before I had my own, I had wanted to be a primary school teacher but then I had my eldest straight out of high school so that all got put on the back burner,” Ms Walker said. 

“At the time studying university full time wasn’t suitable with having kids full time but now the kids are a bit older and I saw the opportunity to study and work through SuniTAFE I wanted to take this opportunity. 

“I love the hours of the course and the flexibility is amazing. I have the flexibility to not miss out on anything with my kids, I can study around them and am still able to take my kids to their sport and coach a lot of their sports after school.” 

While Ms Walker said it had been a while since she previously studied, the SuniTAFE teachers have made the transition back to being a student an easy one. 

“The teachers are really helpful and all the information you might need is easily available. It’s been great,” she said. 

Enrolment in a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care (CHC30121) or Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care (CHC50121) is available at any time throughout the year for the sector delivery and traineeship options with intake taking place in February for those interested in a blended delivery.

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