Thrive by Five Welcomes NSW Government’s Investment in Early Learning Workforce
13 December, 2022 – Minderoo Foundation’s Thrive by Five initiative has welcomed the NSW Government’s announcement of early childhood educator scholarship recipients, with support extended to more than 1000 aspiring educators across the state.
The scholarships are a part of the $15.9 billion invested through the NSW Government’s Early Years Commitment and will boost the ECEC workforce across the state by significantly easing the financial pressures faced by aspiring educators.
Thrive by Five’s Director Jay Weatherill said that the positive reception of the scholarships by aspiring educators highlighted the importance of such measures in encouraging individuals to take up a career in early childhood education.
“In a little under six months more than 1000 aspiring educators have utilised these scholarships to undergo essential training and are on their way to join the ECEC workforce in NSW,” he said.
“At a time when the sector faces historic staff shortages that seriously risk jeopardising the learning and developmental prospects of young Australians, announcements like these are very welcome.
“The enthusiasm in the community regarding such initiatives is also indicative of just how crucial they are in developing and maintaining a robust ECEC workforce.
“Removing the barriers that often prevent people from entering the early childhood education workforce can and does lead to positive outcomes.
“The early childhood education and care sector is facing a dangerously escalating workforce shortage and opening pathways for aspiring educators to enter the workforce will help address these challenges.
“While efforts aimed at attracting new educators are a vital piece of the puzzle in responding to the workforce shortages faced by the early childhood education and care sector, concerted efforts should also be taken to improve wages and working conditions for all educators.
“From legislating universal pre-kinder and a comprehensive workforce package and the introduction of an affordable pre-schools policy, NSW is among the front of the pack in terms of state-led early learning and education reform in Australia.
“Thrive by Five urges the NSW state government and decision-makers to use their platform to push for greater early learning reforms at a national level.
“Additionally, we also urge other states and territories to implement similar policies and reforms that make it easier for aspiring educators to enter the profession and improve wages and working conditions for the existing workforce.
“To ensure that Australia has a steady ECEC workforce, active participation from every state and territory is not just important, it’s vital,” he said.
Thrive by Five is calling for a high-quality, affordable and universally accessible childcare system, staffed by an appropriately paid and valued workforce. This includes the abolition of the Activity Test, reinstating funding for First Nations children and family services and a pay rise for early childhood educators.