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The importance of early childhood education and care

A career in child care can be incredibly rewarding and plays an essential role in our society. With demand for workers at an all-time high, now's the time to make your mark in this growing industry.

While a career in early childhood education and care can be incredibly rewarding, it also plays an essential role in our society. It has huge benefits on a child's development and future success, and boosts economic growth by allowing parents to return to the workforce. With demand for workers at an all-time high, now's the time to make your mark in this rapidly growing industry.

Why is early childhood education important?

Child carers fulfil a critical role in our society and their role in the growth and development of children cannot be understated. By the age of five, a child's brain is nearly fully grown, highlighting the key role early childhood education and care plays in children's brain development.

Studies in Australia and internationally demonstrate the significant benefits children experience from attending quality early childhood education and care services. These benefits include better intellectual development and higher levels of concentration, sociability, and independence. Children who experience quality child care are also likely to be well socialised, confident, inquisitive, accepting, resilient, and life-long learners.

Australia's early childhood education and care industry

According to IBIS World, Australia's early childhood education and care industry employs over 195,000 people and generates $14bn in the Australian economy.

The child care industry in Australia is experiencing a period of rapid growth. A growing population, an increase of government subsidies, and a tightening of staff-to-child ratios means that demand for qualified child carers is at an all-time high. In fact, according to the National Skills Commission, child carers are one of the five most in-demand workers in Australia at the moment.

The rising cost of living is another factor driving demand for child care workers. People who would have previously left the workforce to care for their children are now finding they need both parents to continue working to meet their financial commitments.

Similarly, Australia's current worker shortage is highlighting the need for adequate child care places and staff to allow more people to re-enter the workforce. For example, an analysis conducted by Impact Economics and Policy shows that halving the workforce participation gap between men and women would result in an additional 500,000 full-time skilled workers, and that engaging women in paid work at the same rate as men could unlock an additional one million workers in Australia.

Government subsidies

As the costs of child care for families has risen, so too has government support. These incentives are intended to encourage parents to return to the workforce after a child is born, offsetting the cost of childcare. As accessibility to childcare remains within reach, the participation rate of women in the workforce will continue to climb, further increasing the need for qualified workers to fill child care jobs.

In March 2022 the government introduced a higher child care subsidy for families with more than one child aged five or under. Additional increases to child care subsidies are slated for July 2023, further reducing costs and increasing demand.

Child care courses

If you're thinking of working in child care or education support, TAFE Queensland can help. Our Certificate III in Early Education and Care (CHC30113) is the minimum qualification requirement for child care workers in Australia. While our Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care (CHC50113) will allow you to take the next step in your career and work as a centre director. Make a positive impact on children's learning and development and uncover a career where your skills will always be in demand.

Find out more about TAFE Queensland's range of child care courses from Early Childhood Education and Care teacher Joanne. In her webinar she discusses the flexible study options available and the many career opportunities that can be found in the sector.

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