ECA survey illustrates the complexity of ECEC

Early Childhood Australia (ECA) has published the results of an in-depth survey that paints a picture of an exhausted and stressed early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector, but joyful and hopeful when it comes to is about working directly with the children.

The survey was conducted to inform the stance ECA CEO Samantha Page will take in today’s news Jobs and Skills Summitwhere she will intervene as a spokesperson for the early childhood sector.

Of the more than 700 ECEC professionals who responded to the survey, almost 70% said they felt exhausted on a daily basis. In brighter results, 83% said they regularly felt “happy” and many were regularly “joyful” or “hopeful”, indicating that they find working with young children to be satisfying and rewarding.

“The survey responses confirm that the early years workforce is under significant pressure, but remains committed to delivering positive outcomes for children,” Ms Page said.

“This level of workload is unsustainable and stems from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two years, the unprecedented staff turnover rate, which ranges from 20% to 60%, as well as the number of positions. vacancies, which are currently at an all-time high of over 6,000 nationwide,” she added.

Respondents also ranked a range of measures to address labor issues, prioritizing improving wages and conditions through immediate wage increases and longer-term reforms to address the labor market. gender pay equity and better recognize the value of the work they do.

There was also a strong consensus that early childhood teachers (ECT) deserve pay parity with teachers in the school system, while graduate and graduate educators deserve professional salaries comparable to employees in other professional sectors.

Some of the key positions that ECA will adopt at the Jobs and Skills Summit include:

  1. The development of a “critical response strategy” that responds to the immediate workforce crisis, which could include advancing elements of the national workforce strategy “Shaping Our future” and the implementation of time-bound strategies that address labor and skills supply issues.

  2. An immediate wage increase – funded by the government through payments to employers – to “retain” the workforce, improve retention and completely reduce the number of people who leave the sector completely, and increase wages without negative impact on affordability for families.

  3. Longer-term structural reform through the Fair Work Commission (pay equity review after the change in legislation) to address pay equity for teachers as well as for staff qualified by certificate and diploma compared in comparable positions in schools and other educational institutions.

  4. A quality jobs initiative to work with employers to identify and share good practices to improve job security, working conditions, assignment practices, manageable workloads, professional development, etc.

  5. Continued government support for entry-level VET qualifications and upgrading programmes: to upgrade certificate status to diploma status and from diploma status to diploma status, including streamlined access and options intensive training, if necessary.

  6. Improve VET completion rates and support for students in the workplace, including targeted strategies for specific population groups, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, culturally and linguistically students diverse, people with disabilities and those who live and work in rural and remote areas.

  7. A ‘pull back’ campaign to re-engage those qualified in early childhood education and care who choose not to work in the sector.

  8. Paid internships for students in their fourth year of their early childhood education diploma.

  9. A community education campaign to promote understanding of the value of work in early childhood education and care, correct use of language and greater respect for the profession.

  10. Simplify access to additional support for children with complex or additional needs to ensure that all early years services are inclusive and provide equitable educational outcomes for every child, recognizing that the profession demands more support in this domain.

For more information on the Jobs and Skills Summit, please see here.

Sharon D. Cole