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Inspiring TAFE NSW partnership to address critical Aboriginal childcare shortage


Inspiring TAFE NSW partnership to address critical Aboriginal childcare shortage

CHANGING LIVES: Nowra’s Cullunghutti Aboriginal Child and Family Centre has entered into a partnership with TAFE NSW to help provide career pathways for Aboriginal early childhood educators.

10 May 2022

An inspiring new partnership aimed at boosting the number of Aboriginal early childhood educators in the Shoalhaven is set for its first influx of students at TAFE NSW Nowra.

The partnership, between TAFE NSW and the Cullunghutti Aboriginal Child and Family Centre, comes amid a widening skills gap in the early childhood sector, with more than 5000 vacancies for educators nationwide.

The situation is even more dire in the Aboriginal childcare sector, prompting the nation’s peak body representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, SNAICC, to approach TAFE NSW to launch the bespoke course.

The fee-free pilot course will include two days practical training at Cullunghutti and a day at TAFE NSW Nowra, with hopes it could be rolled out to other regions if successful.

Students will graduate with a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care, complete work placement at Cullunghutti and be ideally placed to secure work at a local childcare service.

Cullunghutti CEO Tara Leslie said the partnership was an important pillar in the service’s strategy to attract more Indigenous early childhood educators.

“There is a critical shortage of Aboriginal educators in the early childhood education sphere and we feel it is important to strategically address this,” Ms Leslie said.

“In partnering with TAFE NSW, we are strengthening our ability to recruit Indigenous educators and centre the voices of Indigenous people that will lead to successful outcomes.”

TAFE NSW Aboriginal Engagement Coordinator Mark King said the partnership was part of TAFE NSW’s commitment to ensuring local industries had the pipeline of workers required to thrive.

“COVID has made the situation in early childhood education even harder and a lot of services are struggling,” Mr King said.

“We need more Aboriginal educators in the sector so they can deliver culturally appropriate care and education to children.”

Expressions of interest for participants in the course are now open and can be accessed by visiting

To explore the range of courses available at TAFE NSW and via TAFE Digital, visit or phone 131 601 for more information.

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