Childcare workforce initiative ‘Thriving Futures’ arrives in the Goldfields
BHP will expand the reach of Child Australia’s Hedland and Newman based Thriving Futures project into the Goldfields. The project expansion will see a modified version of support for the recruitment, training, development and retention of a sustainable childcare workforce. The project aims to stabilise, nurture, and develop staff, in turn leading to increased access to high quality early learning for more children throughout the region.
BHP Head of Corporate Affairs WA Meath Hammond said “we are looking forward to continuing our partnership with Child Australia to develop a sustainable childcare workforce in the Northern Goldfields.”
“The extension of this partnership will provide children and their families a level of consistency in childcare, allowing them to be engaged learners from a young age, developing their prospects to be fulfilled, contributing members of society – which is vital to the growth and sustainability of the Goldfields for years to come,” Meath explained.
The childcare sector continues to be plagued by critical workforce shortages across the country and the Goldfields region is significantly impacted. With an initial focus on supporting Goodstart Early Learning in Somerville and Leinster Community Day Care, the Thriving Futures program will work alongside the two services to help stabilise staffing levels. In addition, there will be a series of professional development learning opportunities offered to the broader childcare sector within the region to support strengthening the capacity of sector professionals.
With ongoing childcare shortages in regional WA, the Thriving Futures project has been reversing national trends with a targeted holistic place-based approach. Child Australia’s CEO Tina Holtom said “childcare provision particularly in the regions is a complex issue, largely underpinned by workforce. Quite simply, the focus needs to be on developing a highly qualified, capable, supported educator workforce, to ensure a long-term sustainable approach to childcare provision in the region”.
The workforce development initiative will provide recruitment attraction and retention campaigns, supported career development pathways including scholarships, mentoring, and professional development opportunities. The Thriving Futures team will focus on encouraging the Indigenous community, school leavers, parents re-entering the workforce, and mature-age workers looking to reinvigorate their careers to consider employment in early childhood education and care. The project will also engage broad thought-leadership and actions toward dedicated solutions for supporting families throughout the Goldfields with adequate childcare supply.
Goodstart Early Learning State Manager Todd Dawson said “we welcome the engagement in Thriving Futures and the partnership with Child Australia and BHP. Our collaborative efforts are critical to support the attraction, retention and growth of the essential role Early Childhood Educators and Teachers play for children, families and the wider community.”
The Centre Director from Leinster Community Day Care Leonie Delaney added “we look forward to being part of the Thriving Future project and thank BHP and Child Australia for this fantastic opportunity.”
Thriving Futures remains committed to raising the profile of early childhood education and care as a highly respected career pathway and continues to work together with communities to develop sustainable models that will see local families and children have greater access to high quality early learning.