Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A uni student's post-Easter misadventures.

We just had a 4-day weekend for Easter. This week has been rather slow, as quite a number of the centres have cancelled their afternoon shifts. Even my flatmate commented that business for her cafe has been slow, so she came home two hours earlier than the usual. I know that for sure, as I'm the one one of the cancelled shifts. =.=

Now that it has come into my realisation, I was informed that Christmas & Easter are the only both times in the year where business comes to an almost halt. Staff take most of their leave during this time to take advantage of the 4-day weekend! I should have realised it.. but what can I say, some of us are a bit thick in the head to realise it until later! *sticks tongue out*

Anyways, last week was rather busy however. The best news so far has been that my wages were banked in today. ^^

For now, as I have just launched an extension for my visa, I do believe that my near short-term future will be in Australia. So yes, if you want to find out anything about specifically NSW or Victoria childcare related news, this is the place to go. ^^

So how have I occupied my time so far? Mostly just reading this text on Business of Childcare I had on loan from the city library. It is an Australian publication, so most of the news are relevent to my current circumstances. Of course, my past stint in the past three centres for almost a week has helped me to relate my readings into perspective.

As my future plans include Australia in the short-term, it would definitely be beneficial to read up on employee, OHS & childcare legislation for NSW & Victoria in the time being. It would definitely look good during interviews if I were wanting to head into a permanent position, mostly as I heard that there is about 7 weeks of paid + medical leave, which is not accessable to the casual worker. In the long term, job security is more an essential rather than higher award rates to make up for the lack of security for the casual worker.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

NSW Childcare Qualification Requirements.

Although jobs ARE difficult to come by, I have found out that childcare is an industry which is severely lacking in qualified staff in NSW.

My research & reflection has shown that if a candidate has a Bachelors degree (preferably from Australia, of course!), they are more likely to be hired for casual jobs and have more shifts in NSW particularly. Other factors include the fact that you get along with other staff in the centre will ensure that the centre will always call you to return there for work.

That was the case that happened yesterday when I emailed in my BECH transcripts to the childcare staffing agencies. One of the agents immediately called me up to inform me that I would be promoted to Early Childhood Teacher for my work (if that turns up that is). I was like, woah! The pay rate for ECT casuals is about AUD30/hour before tax + Superannuation.

To be a group leader in NSW, the employee needs only to have studied up to a Diploma in Childhood Services/Studies, and the Director an Advanced Diploma. Compare this to Queensland, where employees need a higher qualification (by one level) in order to be employed in that position. Of course, if one has a BECH, they can work in either positions, but they may not as the pay commensurates with the position held!

I am not sure why staff in the childcare centres seem to be lacking degree or diploma qualified staff, which is not the case for Toowoomba, where I undertook my studies. Almost everyone at my institution seemed to be undertaking post-graduate studies and finish off with a Masters or Graduate Diploma.

That was the case I went to work in my past three casual shifts. The staff had a tendency to ask, "so, have you done your Cert III or Diploma yet?". It was such that I found difficulty in trying to find the most diplomatic answer to that question.

To state, the case is the opposite in QLD, where not many will be caught with less than a degree, or may it was the circle of my acquaintances? Who knows.

My casual work has been going fairly great so far. I took one week off to prepare for my IELTS (I am not sure how well I will do for that, but I sure pray it would be good!). I've been working almost the past three days I just hope to get paid fairly okay now!!

Work as a casual is great as the advantages include that I get paid higher, and the fact that one gets to meet different staff at each centre. Perhaps after the novelty of the idea has passed, I may consider finding a more permanent job.

However, the fact that one is a casual means that one has to always be on their best behaviour, and put up their best feet forward to guarantee that they will continue to be called back to that same centre all the time. I was working at this centre on Monday, and got called to work again today & am booked in for Thursday as well.

Perhaps the centre liked me? Who knows. All I know is that in every situation, as the employee, you have to know what to do at all times, and just volunteer to help out or initiate help if you see it without being told. That goes for every job as well.

We'll see how next week goes.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Sydney: childcare jobs.

Yes, my application to be a supply worker has finally been accepted. It is better than nothing at all! As most may know, I have completed my studies and am now in Sydney. It is said that opportunities are higher in Sydney, but so is the competition.

However the real story on the other side of the coin which always remains untold is that there is a glut of overly qualified workers in Sydney. This is so much so that even if an applicant was overly-qualified and made the cut to the top ten on the list of the employer's, they may not even get the job.

After having spent about a month of background check, I finally got called to go in for a job today. I thought it would only take one week, but that's pretty idealistic, or naive (for less of a better term). I thought I would need to get a Photo ID for security purposes, but after talking to one of the casuals, he said that its quite bothersome when working with children, as one may accidentally scratch the babies. Perhaps its just for identification purposes only.

This morning, I received two calls! I had sent my resume to three childcare staffing agencies, but only two have responded so far. I didn't want to send my resume to too many childcare staffing agencies as it might put me at risk should something untoward happened.

Today I was assigned to this centre which is a workplace childcare place set up by quite a renowned Australian bank. One would not know that the place had a childcare centre as it didn't advertise itself. The centre was part of a long line of franchaise childcare centres which has been reported to be expanding quite well.

From discussions with other casuals working in that centre, I learnt that most childcare centres will only employ one staff which has a childcare Bachelor, whereas the rest of the staff may only have a Cert III or Dip or less. They can't afford to hire ppl with a Bachelor, as it is quite expensive. By law, the pay would commensurate with the paper qualification as well as the experience.

The room that I was assigned to work was in the nursery with babies & toddlers (up to the age of 2 years). The babies are fairly easy to deal with. They don't misbehave, however they just throw up milk all over your clothes and pants and the irritable ones cry all day. Then there are the walkers who are able to walk and play but unable to speak much yet.

As I was in the room, it came to mind that one does not necessarily need to possess an undergraduate degree in order to be able to work with babies. Having the qualification only makes the most difference in terms of pay, but of course, it is better to have than to have not!

Joseph, an ex-tertiary mate of mine remarked that my pay scope is higher than his, even though he is working in IT (under contract, that is). However as I am currently only a casual, there is no job security in it. Actually, Aaron, another mate of mine remarked that he is being paid about $18 odd dollars an hour (which is similar to the childcare casual pay) just to clean dishes in Queensland. Ok, but that's two totally different circumstances altogether.

There just is a glut of employees in every position possible in Sydney. I concur.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Forward to the Future.

Much has happened in the last four months. In the previous post, I was almost ready to burst into tears, but Providence has provided me a better avenue than what I had initially planned. Although I had planned on graduating as a teacher, something better came up at the bend of the road.

I finally have both my International Montessori Diploma & BECH in my hand! All glory to the Highest! My International Diploma was late in the making, but it arrived. I am going to attend my convo with the rest of my classmates in April! Sometimes I feel that I have waited so long for this moment, that I thought it would never arrive! All those years of study (as evident in my blog) have paid off.

Everyone is pleased, and so are the people at uni. I know my parents are so happy, especially my mother! I can finally close the book to undergraduate studies. ^^

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