Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) is a large, diverse and rapidly growing sector that is integral to our economy. Emphasis is placed on the sector's continuous improvement through the implementation of effective self-assessment and quality improvement processes.
Providing quality outcomes for children is essential and is supported through continually enhancing the skills and knowledge of a qualified and well trained workforce now and in the future.
The New Training Package
In recent years, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) released a Strategic Review, Training for Early Childhood Education and Care. This addressed broader areas relating to Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Qualifications and Units of Competency included in the CHC Community Services Training Package.
In recent months, the AISC reviewed the proposed changes to a number of qualifications in the CHC Training Package. Following this review, a number of qualifications have now been approved by the AISC and are awaiting endorsement by the State and Territory Skills Ministers. Once endorsed, they will be released on training.gov.au.
The ECEC qualifications awaiting endorsement are as follows:
- CHC30121 Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care
- CHC50121 Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care
There are some significant changes to note in the update of these qualifications that have so far been received well by RTOs and industry. These changes include:
- The removal of prerequisites from two new proposed units in the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care
- The retention of the proposed entry requirement to the new Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care
The AISC decision can be viewed in more detail here.
Reasons for Change
In response to the Strategic Review, new training packages and qualifications have been developed to meet the changing needs of the ECEC sector.
The Strategic Review discusses findings related to the “quality of early childhood education and care training delivered by registered training organisations (RTOs) is highly variable” (ASQA Strategic Review). This is also explored in more detail in this blog.
Senator Simon Birmingham, former Assistant Minister for Education and Training, has stated “Nothing beats well supervised, on the job training and experience, especially when dealing with children, which must be adequate in both duration and quality”.
Employment in the Child Care Services and Preschool Education industry sectors has projected consistent growth leading up to 2024, with Early Childhood Educators being one of the largest occupational group.
In correlation with the measures outlined in the ASQA Strategic Review and the new Training Package, there has been positive changes to the sector in the recent years.
Healthcare is a stand out example of other industries that have reformed for the better. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Australians watched as the Healthcare system was redefined. The introduction of Telehealth for essential services helped ease the burden of worker shortages, while up-skilling workers has seen an increase to keep up with demand.
What does this mean for RTOs?
RTOs delivering training in the ECEC sector will benefit from keeping a close eye on updates relating to the Training Package. Updates can be found on the national register, training.gov.au.
RTOs will be required to undertake the process of transition in accordance with the Standards, ensuring all training and assessment materials are developed to meet the requirements of the new training package. This will be undertaken in the timeframes outlined in the transition guide from ASQA. Further information can be found here.
AISC has agreed to support RTOs by developing resources to undertake recognition of prior learning for students with experience in the sector or other education related qualifications who do not meet the entry requirement to the Diploma of Childhood Education.
Furthermore, the AISC have also stated that over the next 18-24 months they will monitor the impact of the Certificate III entry requirement to the Diploma on Diploma enrolment/completions.
The Updates to the CHC Training Package will ensure that training reflects the current demand of a rapidly growing sector. Once the Training Package is endorsed, continued support and resources will be helpful to assist RTOs every step of the way.
Looking at things optimistically, the updates will be for the greater good of society and the economy, ensuring industry thrives and a qualified and highly trained workforce is secured now and in the future. Students can continue to further their knowledge by up-skilling whilst gaining the appropriate skills and knowledge to perform their role to industry standards. With the continued support of quality training and assessment from RTO’s, students will remain more engaged which will in turn increase completion rates across the sector.
In conjunction with the proposed changes, the Childcare reform in the Federal Budget 2021, which promises to provide more affordable childcare for families, will assist to ensure more jobs become available to be filled with a skilled workforce.
Skilled workers and a boosted economy will increase opportunities for employment and allow parents to go back to work. It’s important to remember that we must all work together proactively to benefit from a fair, transparent, effective and consistently regulated industry.