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How TAFE NSW 'speed dating' event is helping region's understaffed childcare sector

TAFE NSW Wollongong

How TAFE NSW 'speed dating' event is helping region's understaffed childcare sector

TALKING JOBS: TAFE NSW Wollongong early childhood students discuss job opportunities with local centre directors at a special “speed dating” event recently.

15 May 2023                                                                  

TAFE NSW Wollongong has piloted a unique way of helping TAFE NSW students secure jobs in the in-demand sector – speed dating.

In a twist on traditional speed dating, TAFE NSW Wollongong recently invited Illawarra early childhood education centre directors to a special event that connected them with TAFE NSW early childhood education and care students.

The innovative approach, which was a local first, saw close to half of the TAFE NSW students in attendance gain employment, with some getting multiple job offers.

It comes as the sector battles a critical skills gap, with a Senate hearing in late 2022 revealing more than 16,000 new early childhood educators were needed nationwide to meet demand.

TAFE NSW Team Leader of Early Childhood Education and Care, Justine Poidevin, said last month’s event, which saw students meet with local childcare centre directors on five-minute rotations, highlighted how TAFE NSW worked with local industry to address skills gaps.

“It was a highly successful night and one that we’ll now look at rolling out in more locations,” Ms Poidevin said.

“The sector is desperate for educators locally and so you have employers looking for students to fill roles and students looking for jobs. TAFE NSW has such close ties with local industry, it made sense that we act as the conduit.”

Ms Poidevin said so in-demand are TAFE NSW early childhood students, one received three job offers following the event.

One of the many to attend the event was Happy Hearts Academy Early Learning Centre director Courtney Baldwin, who employed two of the TAFE NSW students following the event.

“It’s amazing that TAFE NSW is helping link up industry with job-ready students, especially at the moment when the industry is struggling for staff,” Ms Baldwin said.

“We’re really happy with the two students we’ve employed; they have great hands-on skills and are very caring and comforting to the children.”

TAFE NSW Wollongong offers a Certificate III and Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care, with graduates gaining credit towards a Bachelor degree in the field at TAFE NSW Shellharbour.

Media contact: Dan Johns, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, mobile 0477 722 428