A new partnership between Swinburne University of Technology, Swinburne Online and Australia’s leading childcare operator, G8 Education, aims to raise early childhood education workforce quality.
Under the partnership, Swinburne students will be given additional access to placements and employment opportunities, while G8 employees can study a degree through a paid training program.
Currently only 10 per cent of all 142,200 early childhood workers in Australia hold a Bachelor’s degree. This is a low percentage considering a recent government report found quality early childhood education makes a significant contribution to children achieving educational excellence.
The report also showed growing evidence high-quality early childhood education is linked with higher levels of employment, financial security, improved health outcomes and reduced crime.
Professor Robbie Robertson Swinburne University Dean, School of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities said the partnership will create collaborative research opportunities to investigate student preferences, trends and insights with the aim to improve workforce quality.
“Collaborating with G8 is essential in helping to define industry needs. Gaining a further understanding into a student’s motivation to enter the industry and what they experience learning and working in it, will provide insight into how to improve overall workforce quality.
“This will benefit early childhood educators and also children in care,” Professor Robertson said.
With over 500 national early learning centres including 135 in Victoria, G8 Education is one of the largest groups of centres in Australia. Swinburne Online Education Program Director Rhonni Sasaki said the partnership is strategic as it benefits both on-campus and online students.
“G8 Education’s national footprint enables both on-campus and online students to undertake professional placements where it suit them. Pairing theory with real world experience is essential for students in order to prepare them for their future career,” said Ms Sasaki.
A 2016 survey found one in five early childhood educators planned to leave their job within a year. The same survey identified professional development as one way to support educators. With the industry set to grow almost 20 per cent by 2022, more available training opportunities will play a big role in developing and retaining this workforce.
G8 Education CEO, Gary Carroll said taking on more student placements and positioning Swinburne as the education provider of choice for its current employees to upskill under a paid professional development program is a big step towards continuing to lift industry standards.
“At G8 our purpose is clear – to create the space to shape both current and future generations. We will achieve this by ensuring our current employees have ample opportunities to continue developing skills while fostering an environment that encourages lifelong learning,” Mr Carroll said.
For more information on the Swinburne G8 Education partnership, see: Partnership with G8 Education