As you likely already know, the work required to obtain your childcare qualification can be simply divided into two core requirements:
- The learning component, where you must complete several units. You can complete studies on-campus or online.
The benefit of online study for childcare students means that you can complete units from almost anywhere and at any time. Online study has become the new norm for most education institutes all over the world! (Not sure how you’d go studying online? Read this blog post for some online studying tips.)
- The second requirement is the hands-on work placement component, where students must complete a certain number of workplace hours in a childcare centre or other registered childhood centre.
In this week’s blog post, we want to focus on the second of these two components: childcare work placement.
We hope that this blog post will provide you with some useful information and tips to make the most out of this hands-on experience.
What is workplace experience or placement?
Many of us have participated in work experience, whether it was during high school when we started thinking about our careers, or as part of an internship while studying at university.
You probably know that to successfully obtain your childcare certificate or diploma, you will also need to complete a certain number of workplace hours in a childcare centre.
By now, we trust that you have a solid understanding of how childcare study is undertaken. The education and learning component can be completed either online or on-campus, offering great flexibility to students all across Sydney and Australia, while the practical component of the course requires students to participate in a certain number of hours immersed in a childcare centre.
Tips for finding work experience
It is usually your own responsibility to seek out work experience, but Southern Solutions is never more than a phone call or email away!
We offer support and advice to help you land work experience that will give you the confidence to make your mark in the lives of young people through childcare.
The first thing you should do is make a list of private and government-run centres in your local area.
Is the centre approved?
You must ensure the centres you’re contacting for work placement are registered education and care centres. You can search ACECQA’s directory by postcode, suburb, or centre name here.
Make a simple spreadsheet and record the name of the centre, its address, operating hours, and contact details. Also, make a note that you have checked ACECQA’s directory and that each centre is indeed approved.
Once you’ve made a healthy list, start calling!
Make the call
Start calling these centres and enquire firstly whether they accept workplace students. If they decline, politely thank them for their time and move on.
If they say yes, however, ask if you can set up a meeting or phone call, or continue talking then and there, to further discuss the possibility of placement.
Tell the centre:
- What qualification you’re working towards
- Where you are studying
- When you started
- When you’re expected to finish
Spaces can fill fast, and many centres limit themselves to a certain number of placement students per year, so the sooner you start calling, the sooner you can start making some real progress!
Tips for childcare work placement
We all know someone who always leaves things until the last minute. They tell you they are going to “wing it” but more often than not end up flustered and frustrated when they realise they should have perhaps had a bit more forethought.
That’s definitely not what we recommend, especially when it comes to finding childcare work placement!
The best thing you can do is to of course firstly find out when the course is set to begin (and when enrolments close) and plan from there.
The Certificate 3, for example, typically takes between six months and one year to complete, and at some point, your workplace experience will need to fit in. Think about your own schedule, as well as the year ahead, and pick a point where you think you would be happy to commence.
We recommend, on the other hand, to allow minimum 12 months for the Diploma. Similarly, you should start thinking about organising your placement once you are several months into your study and you have a better understanding of your ability and learning.
Visit the centre
While speaking to childcare owners or managers, ask for a meeting to come in and see the centre in person.
During this time, you can meet some staff, receive a tour of the centre, and even say hello to some happy young faces!
Talk to the director or your future supervisor to gain an insight into the type of work you’d be required to complete, which rooms you might work in, your working hours, as well as any tasks that should be completed prior to the start of placement.
You might also like to prepare a short summary of yourself that employers can display in the centre, or email to parents. You can include your name, the dates you will be on placement, what you are studying (and where you are studying) and a brief description about yourself.
Nervous about the first day of childcare work placement?
Placement or work experience can be nerve-wracking, but the most important thing to remember is that you are not alone!