40+ and still learning – how G8’s Study Pathways Program helps tackling staff shortage in the sector

15 years after local early childhood educator Fatthima Husain migrated from Sri Lanka, she has overcome language barriers and the limitations of online learning to graduate from her Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care.

Ms Husain is an educator at Greenwood Hunters Hill, which is part of G8 Education, one of Australia’s largest providers of early childhood education and care, dedicated to its purpose to create the foundations for learning for life.

Ms Husain completed her Diploma course through the G8 Education Study Pathways Program, an industry-leading program aiming to combat sector-wide challenges by attracting and developing high-quality educators and teachers.

While the online learning environment and juggling between work and study was hard, Ms Husain said it wouldn’t have been possible for her to complete it without the extra support of the program.

Early Childhood Educator Fatthima Husain with children

“It would have been too hard to work and study at the same time without support from G8,” she said.

“The allocated study time, team support and financial contributions is what made it possible for me to graduate.”

HESTA State of the Sector 2021 Report1 found one in five early childhood workers are intending to leave the industry in the next one to two years, sighting a ‘desire to develop new skills’ as the number one reason for job dissatisfaction.

According to G8 Education’s Chief People Transformation Officer Tabitha Pearson, the company’s Study Pathways Program is supporting the G8 team to grow and develop, and in turn tackling the sector shortage.

“We have heard the call from the sector workforce, and are responding by consistently reviewing and growing our Study Pathways Program to better meet the needs and wants of educators,” she said.

“Employees who complete a VET qualification through the G8 Study Pathway Program stay, on average, twice as long as non-study pathways qualified team members.

“Turnover rates were also 20 per cent lower in our Study Pathways graduate cohort during 2021 than non-Study Pathway educators.”

Ms Husain said she isn’t surprised by the G8 Education statistics, adding that she is now considering continuing her studies after such a positive experience.

“I was a preschool teacher back in Sri Lanka and I am so happy I have been able to continue that work here in Australia,” she said.

“It’s great, that even though I’m 40+ years old, that I can continue learning and be supported by G8 to do that.

“Now that I’ve graduated from my Diploma, I am now considering furthering my studies to a Bachelor level and becoming an Early Childhood Teacher.”

G8 Education currently offers part- and full-time traineeship opportunities for both Certificate III and Diplomas in Early Childhood Education and Care, and a Bachelor Scholarship Program.

These programs vary in support, however allocated study time, mentoring support and financial benefits are included across all.

In March 2022, the Study Pathways program saw record enrollments, which Ms Pearson said shows the hunger of educators to progress and learn.

“Developing our team is a priority, for both the benefit of our G8 network and the wider stability of the sector workforce,” she said.

“Our program enrollment rates, and sector survey results show this is where our focus needs to be to guarantee a sustainable workforce into the future.”

Childcare sector vacancies are at an all-time high, having doubled from 2019 and rising by 50% in the past 12 months alone.

National Skills Commission’s Employment Projections to 2026 is projecting a 21.6% increase in early childhood sector jobs from November 2021 to November 2026.

“I love coming to work everyday, seeing the children and watching them grow and develop,” said Ms Husain. “I cannot imagine doing anything else with my life.”

To find out more about job opportunities in the Hunters Hill area and other G8 centres visit our careers page or contact our recruitment team on [email protected] or by phoning 07 5581 5480.

Great Beginnings Gilles Plains is a “rare occurrence within the child care sector”

South Australia’s first Great Beginnings early learning centre has opened its doors in Gilles Plains.

Situated in Adelaide’s fastest-growing region, this centre will help to fulfill the heightened community need for early learning services in the northern suburbs.

Gilles Plains childcare centre

Centre Manager, Ryan Kroon, said he is excited to provide a high-quality service for local families and create a homely space to nurture children into confident learners.

“Supporting children to develop healthy relationships with themselves and other people is what inspired me to work in early childhood education,” said Mr Kroon.

“When children establish healthy relationships and connections to educators, their peers and care environments, it supports emotional well-being and influences them to become confident learners.”

Great Beginnings Gilles Plains is part of G8 Education, one of Australia’s largest providers of early childhood education and care, dedicated to its purpose to create the foundations for learning for life.

G8 Education CEO Gary Carroll said Mr Kroon is a rare occurrence within the child care sector, with the Australian Productivity Commission reporting just 3 per cent of all childcare workers are men.

Centre Manager Ryan Kroon with a child

“It is an absolute positive to have both male and female role models in our educational settings,” Mr Carroll said. “It is a major benefit to children to see our educators interact, and how they communicate and work together.”

Mr Kroon joined the Great Beginnings Gilles Plains team with more than 20 years of early learning experience, as well as an Advanced Diploma in Children’s Services and Leadership Business Management.

“I was very fortunate to go straight from high school into a centre where I was really supported,” said Mr Kroon.

“I am really proud that during my time in management I have been able to support and encourage more men to join the sector.”

In order to support children’s individual learning styles and emotional needs, Mr Kroon said consistency of care is a core focus for his team of 15 educators.

“We use the circle of security model to develop trusting relationships with our children and families,” said Mr Kroon.

“Primary carers develop responsive and respectful relationships with new families, become informed of individual routines and interests and act as a safe base for children.

“That consistency really helps with that initial transition into care for both child and family.”

The centre officially opened on Monday 23 May. Personalised tours of the spacious centre and natural place spaces are available by booking online or phoning 1800 517 086.