A Study by Mr John Varghese and Mr Russell J. Freemantle
Article Summary and Discussion – Early Childhood Learning Industry Training Needs Study
Mr Russell J. Freemantle (Director of Studies) and Mr John Varghese (Business Relations) undertook a study into the training needs of early childhood education and care facilities. The study’s data collection was concluded in August 2015.
Data were gathered through a series of dialectic interviews with senior staff members from a purposely selected non random sample of early childhood facilities in the Melbourne area. The data were then subject to thematic analysis and comparisons were drawn with existing literature and statistics.
In addition to identifying a high level of demand for employees possessing a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care or Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care, the study also identified specific knowledge, skills and qualities that the participants considered important among such employees. These included an inclusive approach to early childhood education and care, the ability to work effectively with both children and their parents and the ability to work in culturally diverse settings. Participants also cited training in working with children with autism as a key training requirement.
Several of the participants emphasised the importance of employees being trained in the first aid procedures for dealing with common childhood medical emergencies including asthma attacks and anaphylaxis as well as general first aid training. As well as meeting legal and regulatory requirements, childcare facilities have a duty of care to children and with the increasing occurrence (Lauder, 2015) of childhood allergies, anaphylaxis and asthma attacks are no doubt a significant concern.
It is clear from the participants’ feedback, bearing in mind that all of the participants were employers, that anyone with a childcare qualification is likely to be in demand, but it is also clear that a well-designed course that addresses industry needs will give graduates the edge over others qualified to work in early childhood education and care and it important that education providers attend to quality and relevance when designing courses.
Mr Freemantle and his Colleagues are now undertaking a more detailed study as part of the process of developing a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care.