Course demand indicates pointers for early childhood workforce

A new analysis of demand for early childhood degrees indicates that increased study support and a focus on building the qualifications of those already in the sector are key to improving workforce numbers.

The study, from Sharon McKinlay, from QUT and collaborators, examined the results of a survey of 1291 people who were studying or interested in studying early childhood qualifications and found that much could be done to improve retention of the early childhood workforce, while also recruiting new students over time.

However workforce strategies typically focused on the recruitment of new professionals, with retention tending to be less of a focus. In comparing who was studying, with who was wavering and who was not intending to study, the research found that younger people under 30 were the demographic most likely to study, whereas the over 50s were least likely.

Data indicated that younger, lower qualified people were the most likely to study and that 75% of younger educators were studying or thinking of studying – a positive sign for the workforce pipeline.

The research also found that more support was required to encourage and support study for people with family responsibilities, finding that people “amongst those working part-time, a work pattern associated with care duties, there are higher levels of wavering about further study.”

“Those educators wavering present an important strategic group to engage and support as our evidence shows reluctance to engage in further study increases with age. Without an incentive to start, and ongoing practical support to engage and complete an ECEC qualification, there is a risk that these groups will not engage in study”



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