Why you should consider a career in early childhood education

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Industry Graduates Team

A common misconception about the early childhood industry is that it is just about Childcare. Caring for young children is obviously a big part of this industry, but it's offerings to prospective employees and students is not just about traditional childcare.

There are many synergies with the teaching profession and schooling, but it is also an opportunity to become a business owner operating your own Family Day Care or Day Care Centre; or even working overseas. The opportunities of employment are in 5 core areas:

  1. Outside School Hours Care (OSHC)
  2. 'Long' Day Care Centres
  3. Family Day Care
  4. Au Pair/Nanny and related services in Australia and overseas
  5. Develop children to lead active lifestyles through sport

It is a multi-discipline industry sector that is large, rapidly growing and requiring a broad range of skill sets. The early childhood industry is entrenched in the education and childcare sectors, however its operations are also very much retail and service industry-like in nature. This makes Early Childhood very attractive for young people as an entry into a career in multiple service-based industries. Equally as important is the skills learned throughout an early childhood career are not limited to technical skills alone, with broad learnings in customer service, people management and general business skills.

What are the positives of a career in the early childhood education industry?

Make a difference - The education and care of our children is one of the highest purpose roles and responsibilities you can achieve. Educating children and being a role model for their development, is a very meaningful reward in itself and an opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of the child and their family.

Portable and multi-skilled job skills

Don't think of this job as just childcare. The skills you will learn and develop are those needed for a variety of jobs in this industry and also other related career paths. For example, you may start out in childcare at a day care centre in Brisbane and end up as a nanny in London. Also, because many of the skills learned are around communication, customer service, health and safety and management, you are equipped to transition into a multitude of other roles in industries like; tourism, retail, customer service and business.

Flexibility

One of the big benefits of the early childhood industry is the flexibility of work options. There are many permanent, part-time and casual opportunities that are growing annually as demand increases. The government has also recently announced their intent to further the cause of flexibility by making it even easier to access casual and flexible jobs in this industry. It is also one of the best industries to work in if you are currently studying as well.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

The industry is booming all over Australia and also the rest of the world. Along with aged care, it was one of the fastest growing industries in both the public and private sectors. This means there are way more jobs than candidates for those roles, so it is an employee driven market. By getting your skills up and gaining more experience, there is an endless supply of quality jobs on offer now and this will continue for your entire career.

career-child-care
Source: Training.com.au

What about the negative perceptions of the industry?

The main commonly discussed negative aspect about jobs in this industry is the poor pay. There is no doubt, especially in childcare, the pay is not the greatest. However, it is on par with many jobs in different industries that are taken by young people starting out on their career journey.

We will see a shift up in these wages over time and the gap will shrink, making the jobs even more rewarding. This will have to happen to ensure the high demand for employees is able to be met into the future. Focus on the benefits combined with the pay to get the whole picture. Most importantly, you have access to government funded education and training, flexible work conditions and hours, transferable skills training and an unlimited supply of employment.

Another attractive benefit is the ability to take these skills and experience on an overseas working holiday. This is a great way to a solid, concrete future career pathway.

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