Attracting ECE teachers back into the industry vital
In the midst of an extreme Early Childhood Education (ECE) teacher shortage, New Zealand’s largest in-home childcare provider, PORSE, has an ‘earn and learn’ solution it expects will attract teachers who have exited the profession, back to the industry.
The Early Childhood Council (ECC) recently reported that 30 percent of childcare centres have unfilled vacancies, with many staff leaving due to overwork, understaffing and low pay rates. And while the government says 800 new early childhood teachers are needed to replace those leaving the profession and 1,300 will be required to meet immediate demand, a recruitment drive announced by Minister Hipkins excludes the in-home ECE sector.
PORSE National Support Office general manager Erin Maloney says attracting teachers to in-home educator roles is one way to stem the flow of qualified professionals leaving the ECE industry.
“Being a PORSE in-home educator means you have complete control over your business, including how many hours you work, your level of study and how many children you care for. We have educators who work from home doing what they love and have ultimate flexibility, achieving a work life balance that is often just dreamt about.”
PORSE was the first provider to bring NZQA NZ Certificate in Early Childhood Education Care Level 4 qualifications to market, designing the qualification framework programme itself. It is still the only online provider of the programme.
“We designed the qualification for industry and, with no classroom-based learning, it’s accessible for everyone. It’s unrealistic to expect an educator looking after children during the day to attend classes at a campus. The PORSE qualification has been designed by the industry for the industry and also supports the government’s new strategic plan for ECE to focus on training and ongoing professional learning and development.
Mrs Maloney says teachers don’t have to be degree trained to embark on an in-home educator career.
“As New Zealand’s largest in-home ECE provider, we are responsible for the care and education of more than 3,300 Kiwi children, so training is a key part of the support we offer to educators. We place such importance on this that we offer free qualification programmes. This is whether an educator has an existing qualification, needs upskilling or is completely new to the industry.
“In a sector where there’s currently a shortage, there is a pathway with PORSE training on the job while working alongside our under fives in a natural home environment. The benefits of delivering quality early learning opportunities during those incredibly important formative years are enormous for all - educators, children and their families.”