G8 invests in development to fight workforce shortage

As the early childhood education and care sector grapples with a workforce shortage crisis, G8 Education is investing in the next generation of educators with 74 school-based trainees starting in Queensland services over the past week.

Early childhood education sector vacancies are at an all-time high, with 1,557 positions currently advertised online across Queensland.

On average, it currently takes 57 days to fill a vacant position, with demand expected to spike in September/October due to normal enrolment and vacancy cycles.

In order to combat this growing demand, G8 Education is investing more into its sector-leading Trainee and Study Pathway programs to grow and develop its team.

Of the school-based trainees who have completed the program with G8 Education and graduated with a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care, 41 per cent have gone on to permanent employment with G8.

According to G8 Education’s Chief People and Transformation Officer, Tabitha Pearson, the school-based program has more than doubled in size over the past two years due to workforce demands.

“This is such a crucial program given the current workforce environment,” she said.

“We understand our educators and teachers are our most valuable asset, which is why we are committed to developing and supporting our current and prospective team through our sector-leading study pathways programs from school-based traineeships right through to Bachelor Scholarships.”

Joseph Cooper, who has just started his school-based traineeship at The Learning Sanctuary Tarragindi, said he is very grateful for the opportunity to start his career in early childhood education while he is still at school.  Joseph Cooper with Assistant Centre Manager Matthew Vernon

“I had an amazing teacher in grade three, Mr Hanson, and ever since then I’ve wanted to be a teacher,” he said.

“I always doubted whether it was an achievable goal, until I heard about this traineeship opportunity.

“Judging from my first few days at the centre, early learning seems like a perfect fit for me.

“I love watching the children interact and problem solve, and it’s a really fun and welcoming environment to work in.”

The fully-funded two-year school-based traineeship program sees students work alongside a mentor at the centres who can assist students with their studies and development.

G8 Education is one of Australia’s largest early education and care providers, with centres from Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Gladstone, Bundaberg, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and Gold Coast accepting students as part of this major traineeship intake.

G8 Education also offers traineeships to mature aged workers, as well as supported Diploma and Bachelor Study Pathways Programs to employees.

To learn more about how to apply for a traineeship or position with G8 Education, visit the Careers Website.

Kamilaroi Educator led NAIDOC Week celebrations at G8 early learning centre

Proud Kamilaroi woman, Miss Barbie, has led children and her fellow educators at Prestons World of Learning in a range of NAIDOC Week celebrations as they build upon their knowledge of Indigenous culture this week.

Since joining the centre two years ago, Miss Barbie has been actively sharing her culture with her community and working to embed Indigenous education into centre practices.Kamilaroi Educator leading NAIDOC week celebrations at G8 early learning centre

“For me it is important to create a space where children, families and my colleagues can ask questions freely in the interest of learning more,” she said.

“Since joining the centre I have introduced daily acknowledgements of country and consistent Indigenous education practices across all rooms.”

The centre’s NAIDOC Week celebrations will be focused on Indigenous totems and storytelling, beginning with a full centre smoking ceremony performed by Miss Barbie.

“The smoking ceremony is a really important part of our celebrations and recognition of NAIDOC Week,” she said.

“The preschool room will be creating their own picture book about the local Gandangara totems of magpies and crows.”

“The nursery room educators will also do a live story telling where the children can interact with live earth elements like mud and sand as the story is told.”

World of Learning is part of the G8 Education network, one of Australia’s largest early learning providers dedicated to its purpose of creating the foundations for learning for life.

G8 Education’s Head of Early Learning and Education, Ali Evans, said NAIDOC Week provides a great opportunity to extend on existing practices with cultural and community-based learning experiences.

“NAIDOC Week is about celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories and knowledges and that is exactly what Miss Barbie is leading her children and team to do, not just this week but consistently through embedded practices,” she said.

“As educators and teachers we are in a unique position of shaping our leaders of the future, and it is learning like this that will make for a more socially just and united Australia.”

Miss Barbie said she is grateful for the opportunity to share her knowledge with her centre community, particularly during significant times like NAIDOC Week.

“For me NAIDOC Week is about kinship and spending time with family to share stories and ask questions,” she said.

“Luckily for me, I also have a similar, deep connection with my centre community, and I feel fortunate to have the chance to share my culture with so many people.”

To learn more about Prestons World of Learning visit the website, book a tour online or call 1800 413 995.

G8 early learning centre introduces woodworking programs for children to encourage “risky play”

22 June

As Western Australia grapples with a skills shortage, a local early learning centre is doing their part to start training our future tradespeople early, introducing woodworking concepts to young children.

Great Beginnings Southern River has adopted a unique program of ‘risky play’ since opening its doors in March this year.

In an early learning setting, risky play is defined as learning experiences which provide opportunities to challenge limits, explore boundaries and learn about injury risk.Kindergarten children working on their woodworking projects

According to centre manager Shani Galappaththi, the centre’s woodworking program is one of their most unique ‘risky play’ offerings.

“We introduce the concept of woodworking right from the start in our nursery room, with children using plastic hammers to push balls through a hole,” she said.

“Children work on developing those skills and understanding the concepts right through to kindergarten where they start to use actual hammers, blocks of wood and nails to create objects during supervised play sessions with educators.

“The level of engagement and focus they show during these sessions is well above any other activity.

“The children show incredible restraint and consideration when using these tools which I think highlights their capabilities as engaged learners.”

Great Beginnings is part of the G8 Education network, one of Australia’s largest early learning providers dedicated to its purpose of creating the foundations for learning for life.

G8 Education Head of Early Learning and Education Ali Evans said the benefits of risky play are unparalleled.

“Lessons about safety and understanding risk can be beautifully integrated with early childhood teaching experiences like woodwork,” she said.

“Woodwork and exploring natural materials are critical to children as curious and creative thinkers.

“The risks need to be managed and active supervision is important however these aspects should support not hinder valuable learning experiences for young children.”

The centre is now working to expand their woodworking program to incorporate materials collected through their recycling practices.

“I want to start introducing CDs, bottle caps and other objects we collect to the learning so children can start to create more complex designs while woodworking,” Ms Galappaththi said.

“This will assist in the children feeling a sense of accomplishment and build resilience as they problem solve during the creative and construction process.”

To learn more about Great Beginnings Southern Rivers you can visit the website, book a tour online or call on 1800 517 086.

Major milestone in Far North Queensland child protection education

G8 Education’s early learning centres in Far North Queensland have reached a major milestone this week – educating 1000 local children in important personal safety lessons through a partnership with Bravehearts.

The milestone was reached at Pelican’s in the City One Centre, as the team and children welcomed Bravehearts’ Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure Show.

The interactive show helps to empower children to identify uncomfortable feelings like anxiety, to know what to do if they feel unsafe and the difference in small and big secrets and which ones are okay to keep.

Bravehearts’ National Education Operations Manager, Emma Petherick, said the ongoing work in G8 Education centres is vital to improve the safety of Australian children.

“Approximately 1 in 5 children will experience child sexual abuse,” said Ms Petherick.

“Due to confidentiality reasons it is difficult to say exactly how many disclosures are made as a direct result of children seeing this show, however it’s safe to say that we have current or future survivors in every audience we see.”

It is estimated that 1000 children in G8 Education early learning centres in Cairns have participated in Bravehearts’ Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure show since it first took to Australian stages.

G8 Education’s partnership with Bravehearts also extends beyond children’s education, with the two organisations collaborating in 2019 to deliver and develop a sector leading training program for all employees to ensure all children are protected.

“Bravehearts continues to provide consultation to support educators to have only positive interactions with our children and the knowledge to pick up on any signs of abuse or neglect which may be occurring,” said Ms Petherick.

G8 Education Chief Operating Officer, Malcolm Ashcroft, said child safety is the company’s highest priority.

“We prioritise creating child friendly environments where all children are respected, valued and encouraged to reach their potential,” he said.

“Our purpose is to create the foundations for learning for life and that extends to the classroom and daily life.”

Every G8 Education centre also has a Child Protection Champion who works to embed practices into centres by supporting and educating team members and promoting a child safe culture.

The Pelicans in the City One Child Protection Champion, Mayara Rocha, said she leads her team’s participation in ongoing training and monthly focused discussions to ensure everyone is aware of their obligations.

“It is important for us as educators to take the time to reflect and recognise what we are being asked to do in relation to reporting and supporting,” she said.

“I also like to make sure everyone understands why the training is so essential, and how it impacts not just children’s safety but also benefits families and the whole community.

“Our educators must be educated and empowered before we can educate our children.”

All G8 Education educators also complete and sign an ‘I Will Statement’ which is a commitment to child protection and safety that is displayed in centre for families to view.

For more information on Pelicans in the City One or book a personalised tour, visit the website here.

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.