Working together for a stronger Early Childhood Workforce

Jobs and Skills Australia in partnership with HumanAbility is undertaking a capacity study on the workforce needs for Australia’s Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) sector. The capacity study will provide critical evidence and insights to support current and future workforce planning, including a detailed understanding of the current state and future needs of the sector’s workforce to support the development of government strategy and vision on early years education and care of Australia’s children.

During the week of 18 March 2024, Jobs and Skills Australia and HumanAbility held three successful roundtable discussions, aimed at fostering meaningful dialogue and collaboration amongst stakeholders. Attendees included 70 external stakeholders alongside participants from state and territory governments. The roundtables brought together practitioners and experts to discuss the themes identified during the consultation paper process of the study.

The ECEC consultation paper was published on 20 November 2023 and public submissions were invited until 30 January 2024.  The submissions provided rich insights into the current state of play for the ECEC workforce and the key issues and unanswered questions that could be grouped into themes. These themes were addressed during the roundtables and will continue to be addressed through the next stages of analyses and consultation.

These themes included:

  • exploring an ECEC career structure that supports intrinsic and extrinsic motivations
  • making ECEC a competitive and attractive career choice
  • ensuring work-based learning works for the ECEC workforce.

The roundtables allowed stakeholders to delve deeper into the themes outlined above. Participants engaged in thoughtful discussions, sharing valuable insights and perspectives to enhance ongoing dialogue. These discussions surfaced recurring cross-cutting themes regarding workforce capacity within the ECEC sector. These concerns examined achieving a distributed, well-supported workforce across Australia; moving towards an innovative and inclusive workforce; supporting a mobile, protected workforce; and understanding productive work time. The final report will be published in mid-2024.

Jobs and Skills Australia remains committed to inclusive and transparent processes. Future engagement opportunities will continue to prioritise the incorporation of diverse perspectives and will build upon the momentum generated during the roundtables. The collaborative efforts of stakeholders are instrumental in shaping the path forward for the Early Childhood Education and Care sector, helping to establish the foundation for the lifelong learning of future generations.

More information on the Early Childhood Education and Care capacity study can be found on the Jobs and Skills Australia website.