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SWTAFE students address child care workforce shortage

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SOUTH West TAFE students are helping to overcome a shortage of qualified early childhood education workers in the Portland region.
Brooke O'Brien with child at daycare

Elsa MacLeod Kindergarten teacher Jodi Parker said she was always looking for qualified staff and there was a particular lack of good quality relief teachers.

She said this presented an ideal opportunity for anyone wanting to get into the child care industry.

“I’m always looking for staff and students for placements who are enthusiastic and have a passion for the job,” she said.

Ms Parker said child care was a growing industry with a lot of parents finding the opportunity to go back to work earlier than they had in the past.

She said she loved that she had the opportunity to employ South West TAFE students on placement giving them a taste of working in the industry.

“SWTAFE students are always so well prepared. They already have the basics and know all of the regulations and requirements. It gives them a great foot in the door for a career,” she said.

South West TAFE teacher Karensa Smith said each student was required to undertake placements as part of their course which gave them valuable experience and the opportunity to put into practice what they had been learning in the classroom.

“They get the chance to interact with children from a range of different age groups, they develop and enhance their skills from working with qualified teams and it prepares them for working life,” she said.

Ms Smith said each year a large percentage of students gained employment with local services and many students were employed casually during their studies. 

“We also often get phone calls from managers of local services looking for dedicated students seeking employment – so now is the perfect time to train for this growing industry,” she said.

Ms Smith said at the end of their course, South West TAFE students were well prepared for the workforce and were up to date with current industry requirements.