Rapid growth is occurring within the child care industry.
Rapid growth is occurring within the child care industry. Gettythinkstock

Child care job opportunities set to boom

BETWEEN now and 2017, about 50,000 new child care jobs will be created.

It's a reflection of the rapid growth occurring within the industry, as more families realise a single income isn't going to keep up with the rising cost of living. As mothers and fathers return to the workforce, it also means the economy is growing and adding new jobs. However, before those 50,000 new jobs appear, there have been significant changes made within the industry, which will have impacts of their own on those who want to work in child care.

From January 1 this year, all staff working in childcare centres have been required to hold, or be working towards, at least a Certificate III level qualification, with every centre also having to employ a four-year university-trained teacher.

While the changes put pressure on staff to formalise their skills, it also makes the pathway to a career in child care clearer, or at least it makes the start of the path easy to find.

If you want to work in child care, you must be qualified or be working towards a recognised qualification.

Most TAFEs offer relevant Certificate III programs in areas including children's services, child studies and child care education and education support.

Completing a Certificate III is generally expected to take one year, but can be done faster, or slower, as an individual's needs dictate.

The Federal Government has previously announced a $200 million fund to boost the skills of childcare workers, with centres across the country able to claim up to $10,450 per full-time staff member, to be spent on funding training, backfilling positions while staff are studying, or on journals and teaching materials.

Following last year's election, Education Assistant Minister Sussan Ley seized on a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers calling for the scheme to be scrapped.

Ms Ley said the new professional development fund was a fairer way to ensure that workers in long day care centres could meet the criteria of the National Quality Framework which was rolled out under the former government.

"We're making sure all long day care services have fair and equitable access to these funds, as opposed to a select few under Labor," Ms Ley said.

"Higher standards will come at a higher cost and this will hopefully take some pressure of fees for families as well."



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