The day is fast approaching.
Your final assessment has been completed, you’ve ticked off your required hours of work experience, and you can almost feel the certification in your hand… you’re about to complete your childcare course. Congratulations!
Over the last year, you have worked hard through the learning and assessment component of the course, and have had a real taste of the industry though the placement component.
Now, it’s almost time to step out into the thriving childcare industry and secure a job!
This blog post will provide an overview of the work placement component of your childcare course as well as advice on finding a new job once you’re qualified – whether that’s within the centre where you completed placement or elsewhere.
Hands-on work experience
Practical placement or work experience in an approved childcare centre is a key requirement you must fulfil to obtain your qualification.
You are usually required to find your own placement, however Southern Solutions will offer assistance when needed.
Securing a job at the centre where you completed placement
More often than you might think, our students go on to secure jobs at the centre where they completed their placement.
There are a number of benefits for you as well as your employer and the parents of attending children:
- You have already developed relationships with children through your placement
- Children are comfortable around you
- Parents will appreciate the consistency around caring for their children
- Your employer already knows your value, your skills, and your compassion
- Employers can reduce staff turnover when they retain placement students
Pursuing employment beyond your placement centre
For one reason or another, securing employment in the centre where you completed your placement may not always be possible.
And so, the job hunt begins. Where do you start?
Create a resume and cover letter
You will have obtained a wealth of knowledge and experience through your work placement, so it’s important to highlight the following in your resume and cover letter:
- The skills learnt and how you demonstrated them
- How you interacted with children
- Your ability to resolve conflict and direct children
- Your responsibility to administer medication
- Your commitment to maintain daily records
Check the job market
As the childcare industry grows, demand is only set to soar for childcare professionals to enter the workforce. Have a look at major job sites like Seek or CareerOne and see what kinds of positions are available.
Importantly, decide on the suburbs you’d prefer to work in and how far you are willing to travel daily.
Choose your references
If you are seeking a job beyond where you completed your placement, it’s a no-brainer to ask your placement supervisor or manager to act as one of your references.
You may also consider asking a co-worker or a parent from the centre where you completed your placement, or your childcare course supervisor.
Whoever you seek a reference from, ensure that it is someone who can attest to your work ethic – avoid family members and friends.
Make sure you ask whether you can use them as references, and give them a heads up to when your job search will begin so they know to expect calls.
There’s no better time than the present to start applying for jobs in the childcare industry.
Remember that the position you seek will differ slightly based on the childcare course you are about to complete (you can read more about choosing the right childcare course in this blog post).
Prepare for the interview
No two childcare job interviews will be the same, but the general goal of your interviewer is to gage not only your personality and attitude, but to also find out how you have used your learned skills to deal with specific scenarios.
Common job interview questions that crop up across all sorts of industries include:
- Tell me about yourself?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- What is your greatest weakness?
- What is your greatest strength?
These are possibly four of the most commonly asked job interview questions. It’s likely you’ll face at least one in your childcare interview.
However your interviewer, as mentioned above, also wants to see how you have demonstrated skill and aptitude in a childcare centre, with children, during conflict, and with co-workers. Possible questions may include:
- What experience do you have in the childcare field?
- Tell me a suggestion you made that was implemented at your previous centre / during placement?
- What’s the biggest challenge you faced at your previous centre / during placement and how did you resolve it?
- What is your background with children?
- What do you like most about children?
- What do you expect to do as a childcare assistant / manager / aide (this question will depend on the job position you’re applying for!)
- Have you ever had to deal with an emergency? What happened and how did you handle it?
- What do you think is the most challenging aspect of working with children?
- How would you discipline a child?
- How would you handle a crying baby or screaming toddler?
Arrange a folder filled with all required documentation, including copies of your:
- Resume and cover letter
- Driver’s license (or other photo ID)
- Working With Children (WWC) card
- Police check
Complete your childcare course and get the right job!
For many, the job hunt can be daunting. But it should also be exciting! You have worked hard to achieve your qualification, and now is your time to thrive in the blossoming childcare industry.