Child Care Worker
Note: Completion of a TAFE SA course does not guarantee an employment outcome. Formal requirements other than educational qualifications (eg licensing, professional registration), may apply to some occupations.
||Openings 5 years to November 2019: > 50,000
||Median weekly earnings: < $920 to Source: Australian Government Department of Employment 2015
||If helping children to develop socially and intellectually whilst caring for their needs appeals to you, then being a child care worker might be an ideal choice.
There are currently around 8,400 children's care workers employed in South Australia. Over half are employed part-time and most work in the health and community services industry. Most persons in this occupation are female and most are employed in the Adelaide metropolitan area. This occupation has a younger age profile with only around a third of workers aged 45 years or older.
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TAFE SA courses that may be relevant for: Child Care Worker
Child care workers provide daily care for children. As well as caring for children’s physical needs, child care workers encourage social interaction and stimulate children’s problem solving and intellectual skills. The experiences they provide may also help children to develop their fine motor and gross motor coordination.
As a child care worker, one of your major roles will be to develop relationships with children to identify their abilities and interests. This will enable you to plan and create an environment and experiences which will allow children to develop and enjoy life whilst feeling safe and secure. In addition, effective child care workers are able to provide spontaneous responses to children’s needs and changing circumstances.
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To be a Children’s Services professional you must be properly qualified.
TAFE SA offers courses relevant to this occupation including the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care and Diploma of School Age Education and Care. Pathways include Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care and Certificate IV in School Age Education and Care.
SA Apprenticeships are available in this occupation for further information go to the Traineeship & Apprenticeship Services Website at http://www.skills.sa.gov.au/apprenticeships-traineeships or phone the Freecall number 1800 673 097.
Depending on the setting, child care workers may work with children aged 6 weeks to 12 years in long day care, occasional care, out of school hours care, vacation care, family day care and home care, as well as in hospitals or women’s shelters.
In the next five years, it is anticipated that there will be a continued rapid growth in the number of child care and out of school hours care services and, therefore, there will be a continued demand for fully qualified child care workers as well as quality workers with certificate level training.
Certificate III trained workers may take up further study in the Diploma to become fully qualified and, therefore, be eligible to become a team leader in early childhood settings. Qualified child care professionals with sufficient experience and skills who have an interest in administration, may progress to the position of director. A director’s position may include continued work with children or focus wholly on administration depending on factors such as the size and philosophy of the centre.
Qualified workers may choose to undertake university studies in early childhood education or other education pathways and may receive some credit in these courses for their diploma studies.
Qualified Out of School Hours Care professionals may choose to undertake further study in recreation and leisure or university studies in education, such as primary education, and may receive some credit for their diploma studies.
Cultural and Recreational Services, Education, Health and Community Services
To be updated
Nature of the Job
An essential part of the job is to develop positive relationships with children and their families to ensure emotional wellbeing and security for the children involved. The work can be physically and intellectually challenging, but also very rewarding. Generally, child care workers work in a team environment and enjoy supporting each other to achieve group and individual goals and objectives. Whilst there is a general routine that helps children to determine what to anticipate next, there is opportunity to participate in a wide range of tasks whilst interacting with children and adults throughout the day. Certificate III level workers work under the supervision of qualified workers and the responsibilities of individual workers depend on their level of training.
Child care workers regularly work inside and outside on a daily basis in order to interact effectively with children and to supervise to ensure a safe environment.
Child care centres, occasional care centres and out of schools hours care facilities may be purpose built to cater for a small group of about 20 children or for large groups which may exceed 100 children who are divided into smaller groups. Some facilities are renovated buildings such as homes, school class rooms or neighbourhood centres. In some circumstances where small numbers of children are concerned, the work setting may be a person’s home.
Outdoor areas are usually designed to be flexible and adaptable to accommodate a variety of experiences in a safe manner.
Typical Physical Working Environment
Child care workers' duties and hours of work vary and they are often required to do shift work. Child care workers often share basic tasks and work in teams. They spend long periods on their feet and often have to lift and carry children and move equipment.
They need to be alert, observant, active and able to use judgment and initiative. They also must be willing to accept responsibility. It is essential that they are able to work as part of a team and able to relate well to children and their parents.
Typical Occupational Example
CHARACTERISTICS OF CHILD CARE WORKERS
Children respond to a worker who:
• Can show pleasure and enthusiasm in their company
• Shares their interests and accomplishments
• Listens to them carefully and respectfully
• Provides them with a play environment that is challenging and fascinating
Parents want their children’s carers to:
• Be friendly
• Be skilled and well trained
• Consider the family’s needs
• Recognise that their child is special
Co-workers like to work with people who:
• Believe in their work
• Are enthusiastic and cheerful
• Are able to be responsible and take initiative
• Enjoy working in the team
• Are open to new ideas
• Have a sense of humour, and are healthy and energetic
People who have these qualities make successful child care workers and are rewarded by a personally satisfying career. They can appreciate the gift that children bring every day to their lives.
CHILDCARE WORKERS IN PARTNERSHIP WITH PARENTS
Child care workers spend a large proportion of their day interacting with children and colleagues. They are responsible for tasks such as supervising children to ensure that they are safe, preparing activities and experiences, meeting children’s needs such as food, drink, sleep and hygiene, as well as their emotional needs. They do this by encouraging independence or by being there to provide support (such as a cuddle) when needed.
Child care workers foster children’s natural curiosity to make sense of the world around them through experiences that are real and meaningful. This may include creative experiences such as dramatic play, painting, collage and construction, exploration of the natural world, social development, communication and language development.
In out of school hours care settings child care professionals may be involved in working with children in a range of recreation and leisure experiences. This may include sports, movie making, drama, music and excursions involving bowling, theatre, surfing, exploring national parks and heritage sites. As a child care worker in partnership with families, you may also support children’s transition to school and homework requirements.
With the help of child care assistants, one of the qualified team leader’s roles is to observe and document individual children’s abilities and interests to effectively plan for future experiences. Communication with parents is important in order to share information relevant to their child and involve them with the service.
Phone: 0407 580 645
Department for Education and Child Development
Phone: 1800 088 158
Pay rates are linked to qualifications obtained and skills utilised in the job.
The salary for a full time child care worker begins at approximately $25,800 per annum. Qualified team leaders can earn up to approximately $35,800 per annum. Directors of services can earn approximately $46,000 per annum.
For further information about all TAFE SA Courses, phone 1800 882 661 or enquire online