Are you thinking of starting a traineeship in childcare? Well from personal experience, working in this child care industry brings great fulfilment and satisfaction. Watching these little kids grow each and every day puts a smile on your face. Now I'm not gonna say that every day is a good day. It is very hard work at times and sometimes you get the children who test your patience and yes some times you just want to scream but it's all part of the fun and the hard work all pays off in the end!
Basically a traineeship is working while completing a qualification. Your employer will cover the costs of your study and in return you will work at that centre until your traineeship is complete. It takes 12 months or more to complete a Certificate 3 or a Diploma of Children’s Services qualification, depending on where you are studying. The duration of the course depends on the institute you will study from.
How to Start a Traineeship in Childcare?
The best advice is to ring up local child care centers around your area and inquire whether or not they have any job availability for a traineeship position. If you cannot find anything in your local area, you can even search the web, check out the newspaper for any listings or contact any of the childcare recruitment agencies. Personally from my experience, I find that it is easier to ring childcare centers around the area you are interested in and speak directly to the center director. All center Directors are very nice and very helpful. They will provide you with information regarding any traineeship available at that particular center. If the childcare center doesn't have a traineeship available, you can always leave your details and wait until there is (depending on how long it will take) or find another center. You will not have to worry about enrolling in a course as this is done by your employer once you have started at a childcare center.
On starting your employment as a trainee in childcare, you will be signed up to a childcare training institute in order to complete your certificate 3 or Diploma in children services. You will receive assignments to complete within the 12 months or more. The assignments you will be receiving will cover all areas from the most basic of health and safety of children to learning about observations, programming and planning for children from 0 – 6 years. A member of staff will be assigned to you from the childcare institute. They will come out periodically to assess you while you are working and help with any questions you may have regarding assignments.
Depending on the child care center, you may be required to pay an initial cost for enrolling into the traineeship course. This is a one off fee that ranges from about $400 depending on which childcare training institute the childcare center you work at dealing with. At some child care centers the enrolment fee is paid by the childcare center itself. (This is a good question to ask while you are looking for a job as a trainee.)
Regarding pay, while doing a Cert 3 or Diploma Of Children Services traineeship you will be paid according to the Children Services Award 2010. In this award it specifies the minimum weekly wage you will receive as a trainee. There are many factors to take in consideration when regarding a traineeship wage from age, previous experience, location, the centre, whether they are paying above award etc. It’s best to directly discuss this with the director during the interview.
For International Students / Migrants
For those of you who have just come from overseas and have recently decided to pursue a childcare traineeship in Australia, below are some helpful hints to remember.
- You may be required to show evidence of completing secondary school. So make sure, you have a copy of your high school certificate (or equivalent). You also must be 18 years or older when starting a childcare traineeship.
- Depending on your circumstances, you may also be asked to show visa status or passport information.
- All childcare workers must complete a Declaration of Prohibited Employment or a Working with Children Check before commencing work in a centre (regardless if you are from overseas or local, this is mandatory).
- Students should have an English proficiency of at least 5.5 on IELTS score or equivalent. If English level is less than 5.5, students need to successfully complete English courses (please keep in mind that this point has got nothing to do with the childcare centre. It is mainly for the institution of where you will be studying your certificate 3. Your employer will provide you with details if necessary).
Also, please note that there could be further conditions or criteria to be met for international students / migrants depending on your Visa category and also your country of origin. So, I would recommend all international students / migrants to contact the Department of immigration, Australia for more information.
Benefits of doing a Traineeship
- One of the best factors of doing a traineeship is gaining the experiences you will need and to learn and gain knowledge on a hands on approach.
- You will work closely with the kids, families and staffs which will help you learn about child development and promote learning.
- A traineeship will also give you a taste of this industry and help you to decide whether it’s right for you. It's only 12 months (for cert 3) or more (for diploma) and you become nationally recognized as a qualified childcare worker.
- You have the opportunity to learn from experienced child care professionals, who will be there to support and teach you.
- You are getting paid to interact and play with children (you will understand during your traineeship that it is a lot more than playing with kids).
- The best bit about starting a traineeship is the attachment you will have with the kids at the center. There is nothing like going to work and enjoy what you are doing. The children will always make you smile and laugh, every day is a different day and it's an exciting industry to be a part of.
- There are always plenty of jobs available within this child care industry and you can work your way up into a better position depending on your experiences and further qualifications.
Working as a Childcare Trainee
Working as a childcare trainee is not all fun and games. There is plenty of hard work involved. You will be working as either an assistant or a floater. An assistant means you basically assist the room leader in one of the rooms, as a floater you will “floating and assisting” different rooms when they need you throughout the day.
You will have to get use to staff telling you what to do, getting feedback and suggestions on what you need to improve and having to do a range of different duties around the center. Now you have to understand that working in this industry and working with children that there is a lot that has to get done. As a trainee you will feel you do more than your fair share but that's in fact part of the job. You are working as an “unqualified childcare worker”, you are still learning and your duties regarding the actual learning of the children at this stage is minimal. However, your room leader will provide you with plenty of opportunities to extend on your skills you develop throughout your traineeship.
I started as a trainee as an assistant in the nursery room (0-12 months). I had never worked with babies before and I remember feeling really nervous and scared I was going to hurt these little babies. My room leader taught me how to change nappies, how to feed a baby, how to put a baby to sleep etc...just basic knowledge I would need to help assist in the room. As I gained more confidence I was better prepared and given more responsibilities. I also had to do a lot of cleaning and washing up which I thought was completely unfair. I remember complaining to my director about having to do all the “chores” and she just smiled and said “I understand you seem like it's unfair but it's all part of the job. We all have to do things we don't like”. At the time I thought that was completely ridiculous but looking back on it, I have to agree to some extent, that it's just all part of the job!
A little advice I would like to share with you, be open and listen to what the staff in your team are telling you. They are definitely more experienced than you are; just don't take any “criticism” personal. Working with children is a demanding and sometimes stressful job and on some days the staffs around you aren't always going to be in tuned with your feelings. We go to work, do our job and then relax at home with no kids to worry about (for those who do have kids, it's probably harder for you).
I did not write this so you can feel discouraged about doing a traineeship. I want to share my experiences with you and make you understand that yes it is a great industry to get into and be involved in but it's also a demanding job with hard work.
You will need to be open to communication and have plenty of patience. I still continue to this day to work as part of this growing industry and love what I do, so I hope this article will encourage you and give you a better understanding of starting a childcare traineeship.
For more information on details of the minimum wages you will be expected to receive as a trainee, your traineeship contract, the working conditions, financial assistance you may be eligible for and much more, please read the following article: