Gaining childcare work experience in a childcare or early learning centre is a great way to improve your child care skills. It also helps to place you as a qualified childcare worker. Work experience also gives you the excellent opportunity to clarify exactly what child care work entails and whether it is the right career choice for you.
The child care sector is a growing and vibrant place. Child care workers are responsible for attending to the early education needs and care of young children. It is a rewarding but sometimes demanding career and competition for permanent jobs in childcare centres can be fierce.
To get a permanent job in childcare you will need to have at least obtained the certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care. The entry level certificate will qualify you to work in such fields as
This certificate requires that you complete set learning tasks as well as at least 100 hours work experience in a childcare centre. Work experience is a key element needed to get a job in childcare.
The certificate III course in early childhood, education and care is the minimum qualification level allowed to obtain employment in the childcare early education sector. The course can take between six and twelve months to complete and there is an expectation within that period that you will complete 100 hours work experience.
You need to plan your year accordingly and take steps to arrange your work experience well in advance to ensure that you will find a placement that suits you and helps you to qualify for your certificate.
Once you have obtained a work experience placement it is recommended that you work closely with the childcare centre to ensure that the placement runs as smoothly as possible. You can work towards this by contacting the centre in advance of your commencement date. Take the opportunity to talk to the centre manager and perhaps even arrange for a visit to meet other staff so that you’re not going in “cold”. It may help to prepare a short summary of yourself for the centre as well.
Year 10 students often have the opportunity to complete a week’s work experience in an area of work that interests them. For students interested in how to work in childcare or even teaching, a week’s childcare work experience for year 10 students will give them a valuable insight into the child care sector.
The purpose of this short work experience period is to give the student a glimpse of what childcare work entails as well as giving them a valuable insight into what the working life looks and feels like.
Many childcare centres, early education centres kindergartens and even primary schools will welcome approaches from year 10 students, as the experience can be rewarding for all parties involved.
The first step in getting a job in childcare is to actually obtain a work placement at a centre for the purposes of work experience.
Gaining that initial placement is the first challenge that you must overcome. Initially it is recommended that you search your local area to see what child care centres are close by. Make contact with these centres as soon as possible and express your desire to gain work experience with them. Complete a resume highlighting your experiences in childcare as well as your qualifications. Submit it to every possible centre with a cover letter that highlights your desire to work in the childcare industry. When meeting with prospective employers be sure to maintain eye contact, shake hands (if allowed), observe all social norms and present yourself in the best possible light.
Additionally it may be worthwhile using your existing contacts to see if they have any connections in the childcare sphere. Many jobs are obtained through networking with close friends and contacts.
Above all remain positive and leave no stone unturned. Child care centres are looking for help and will welcome your approach. There is competition for work experience places so get your resumes and letters in in as early as possible.
You can expect to be working as part of the childcare team. As you are engaged in work experience as a student you will not be left alone. You will always be working with somebody else.
Your duties will include such tasks as setting up activities, participating in children’s play activities, cleaning up, reading stories and generally being part of the childcare team.
At some point you may be observed by your assessor, who will be looking to see how you are coping in a day-to-day practical working environment. In all likelihood they will take some notes while observing you. This process can be a little nerve-racking but ultimately the assessor is there to help you to get your qualification.
It is important to remember that you are there as a student getting work experience and everyone will appreciate that and try to give as much help and support as you need!