A whole host of new early childhood education centres are set to open their doors in Orange this year, but with the child care sector facing severe staff shortages, securing enough employees to run the centres may prove a challenge.
Rise Early Learning at the Bloomfield Medical Centre precinct on Forest Road, Imagine Childcare and Preschool at Turner Crescent, Kiddie Academy on Telopea Way and Newstead Early Education and Care at 47-49 Hill Street are all scheduled to open in 2022 to help meet a huge demand for child care places.
Rise Early Learning will be one of the largest new centres. It will offer 155 places and already has more than 200 children on its wait list.
The centre has had to delay its opening by almost a month due to COVID building disruptions, but its recruitment drive is well underway ahead of a planned opening in early May.
"Interest (in employment) has been good, but we'd like it to be better," approved provider Mel Comerford said.
Rise is hoping to employ 15-20 educators by its opening date and up to 60 when the centre is fully operational, including positions for trainees.
Positions are currently being advertised and the centre is planning a recruitment evening next month to help attract more staff.
"Like all sectors at the moment we're facing a shortage," Mrs Comerford said.
"About 20 per cent of Australia's child care sector staff come from offshore and they haven't been able to get into the country so that's put a tight squeeze on the entire sector."
Border closures and COVID had added to the problem, she said.
Meanwhile, TAFE NSW Orange is currently encouraging people interested in a career in childhood education to help fill the skills shortage by enrolling in its Certificate III in Childhood Education and Care.
It says the industry already employs the largest number of people in the Central West, but more skilled and trained educators are needed to care for children.
It's the best job in the world, and I don't think I have ever dreaded coming to work.- Course graduate Stella Peppernell Baks
Course graduate Stella Peppernell Baks, 18, who followed in her mother's footsteps and is now living out her dream of becoming an early childhood educator, says she has no regrets.
"It's the best job in the world, and I don't think I have ever dreaded coming to work," she said.
"Having kids smile at you and appreciate you is so rewarding."
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