Responding to the workforce shortage: new early childhood teachers graduate via innovative program

A unique program designed to support early educators has achieved student retention rates more than five times higher than the national course completion rate for early childhood undergraduate teaching degrees.

The Front Project’s Upskill Program, which has today seen another ten new early childhood teachers graduate, has recorded a 72 per cent student retention rate in the past two years. By comparison, the national course completion rate for childhood teaching degrees is just 13.5 per cent according to the data set from ACARA.

As the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector faces a 22 per cent increase in demand for workers by 2023, the pressure is on to fill 9,000 vacancies by next year.

The Front Project CEO, Jane Hunt, said innovative solutions and programs were needed to address this significant demand. 

“Responding to the ECEC workforce shortage is crucial to building a quality and sustainable system, which in turn supports children, families and the broader economy,” Ms Hunt said. 

“We urgently need to address these workforce shortages and create a pipeline for future teachers, otherwise childhood outcomes will be significantly affected.

“At a time when we are seeing enrolments not keeping up with demand, we need innovative programs like this that attract and retain future teachers through their study journey.

“The Upskill Program helps university students move confidently through their degree and bolster the ECEC workforce.

“This builds a more sustainable system, which is crucial to the development of children and the ability for parents to get back into the workforce.

“We know that there is a direct correlation between the quality of the early learning experience for children and teaching qualifications.

“Earlier research we undertook identified the barriers and enablers for diploma trained educators in upskilling their qualifications – this has provided a sound evidence base for our workforce initiatives.

“In the last two years, the Upskill Program has supported 247 educators with a further 170 in the pipeline for the next intake.

The Upskill Program and Online Community provide opportunities to support the early childhood education professionals to achieve three main goals:

  • Increase their ability for impact in practice
  • Increased earning and career capacity
  • Increased support through professional networks

“I congratulate the latest graduates and look forward to watching their careers in the sector flourish.”

More information about the Upskill Program can be found here.