Thrive by Five calls for urgent Govt action on early learning workforce crisis
9 February 2021 – New figures from the Department of Education revealing 11.2 per cent of early learning centres need special permission to open due to staffing shortages highlights the acute workforce crisis in the sector.
In addition, a December 2021 search on the Seek website found the number of job vacancies in Australia for early childhood educators was 6,999, and for early childhood teachers 7,212.
For a workforce of about 150,000 this is an extreme high vacancy rate of 9.5 per cent of the total national workforce.
Thrive by Five CEO Jay Weatherill said these workforce shortages were affecting the quality of ECEC services and the accessibility of essential early learning for children and families.
“There is a workforce crisis in the early childhood education and care sector, with thousands of job vacancies, high staff turnover and inadequate pay and conditions for educators,” he said.
“Omicron has ramped up existing, long-term workforce shortages, with additional pressure from furloughed staff driving room closures and now shortages in key team leadership positions.
“The workforce crisis is jeopardising accessibility to high-quality ECEC during the critical early years of child development and at a time when many children and families need additional support
“Addressing the workforce crisis and fixing the early learning system are vital for ensuring every Australian child can have the best possible start in life, and supporting women, families and the economy,” Mr Weatherill said.
Thrive by Five is calling on the Federal and state governments for an urgent response to the early learning workforce crisis, including
- Establishing a taskforce as a matter of urgency to address the workforce crisis
- Immediate allocation of direct funding to centres to cover waived gap fees so that they can continue to pay their hardworking educators; and
- The Federal Government to designate early childhood wellbeing as a National Cabinet priority to pursue the long overdue reform of the early learning sector