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.

Strong job prospects for child care workers

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. 

The role of child care in society

Child carers fulfill 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 full-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 socialsed, confident, inquisitive, accepting, resilient, and life-long learners.

Current state

The child care industry in Australia is experiencing a period of rapid growth. Consisting of a number of different child care services including long day care, family day care, occasional care, outside school hours care, and vacation care, the industry employs over 158,000 people and generates $14bn in the Australian economy. These figures are set to grow over the coming years with IBISWorld predicting approximately 1.3 million children aged 12 and under will attend some form of government approved or funded child care service in 2019-20. 

The job outlook for certificate trained child care workers in Australia is strong. According to the Australian Government's Job Outlook service, the number of people working in child care is expected to grow very strongly over the next five years to more than 183,000. This very large occupation is expected to create around 36,000 job openings per year. In fact, according to the Australian Jobs 2019 report, child carers are among the top five occupations with the largest projected growth over the next five years.

Higher level roles such as diploma qualified child care centre managers are also in high demand with over 10,000 job openings expected over the next five years. 

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. If you're looking for a rewarding career with strong job prospects, a career in early education and care is a smart choice. 

Growing demand

Australia's growing population is driving demand for child care workers and centre managers. The Australian Bureau of Statistics is predicting the country's population to reach 30 million as soon as 2029. As the population continues to increase, so too does the demand for adequate child care places.

A growing number of women are deciding to pursue their careers as well as having a family, fueling the need for alternative arrangements to care for their children. In addition, the rising cost of living means that both parents often find they need to continue working to meet their financial commitments. 

According to IBISWorld, another factor fuelling demand for child care services is the introduction of flexible working practices among Australian employers. These less traditional work models are allowing parents to stay in the workforce and use childcare when required.

These changing work patterns are forecast to affect child care centres' operating hours. With more parents now employed outside of standard hours, they require flexible care options. This means there is now increasing demand for child care services available late at night, early in the morning, overnight, and on weekends. 

Child-to-staff ratios

In 2012 the National Quality Framework (NQF) introduced a Quality Care Standard which set a minimum standard of care for early childhood education and care in Australia. The standard outlined a mandatory increase in staff-to-child ratios that require one staff member to every four children under the age of two. In 2017 further changes were implemented that required the minimum educator to child ratio of 1:15 for services providing care for school-aged children. 

These changes were made to improve the quality of early childhood education and care in Australia. They are also driving demand for new workers to enter the industry to meet these new staffing ratios. 

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. 

A new Government subsidy package came into effect on 1 July 2018 providing an additional 3.5 billion to working families. According to industry experts, approximately 94 per cent of families are better off under the new subsidy.

This increase of Federal Government assistance is fueling growth in the child care industry. As accessibility to childcare remains within reach, the participation rate of women in the workforce will continue to climb. This will further increase the need for qualified workers to fill child care jobs. 

Rise of the robots

The constantly changing face of technology is one of the biggest factors driving change in the job market. But if you're worried that the robot revolution will steal your job, you shouldn't be. Most people underestimate the importance of interpersonal interaction. As humans, we're hardwired to crave social interaction and robots won't be able to give us the interaction we desire.

While many careers face uncertainty, a career in early childhood education and care is a safe choice. At the same time as other industries are shrinking, careers in health care and social assistance such as child care will continue to provide strong job opportunities.

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.



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