Orange’s childcare sector faces severe staff shortages with at least four new childcare centers set to open | West Central Daily

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A slew of new early childhood education centers are set to open in Orange this year, but with the childcare sector facing severe staff shortages, it can be difficult to find enough employees to manage the centers. Rise Early Learning in the Bloomfield Medical Center area on Forest Road, Imagine Childcare and Preschool in Turner Crescent, Kiddie Academy on Telopea Way and Newstead Early Education and Care at 47-49 Hill Street are all set to open in 2022 to help meet a huge demand for child care spaces. Rise Early Learning will be one of the biggest new centers. It will offer 155 places and already has more than 200 children on its waiting list. The center had to delay its opening by nearly a month due to COVID building disruptions, but its recruitment drive is well underway ahead of a scheduled opening in early May. “Interest (in the job) has been good, but we would like it to be better,” said licensed provider Mel Comerford. Rise hopes to employ 15 to 20 educators by its opening date and up to 60 when the center is fully operational, including positions for interns. Positions are currently being advertised and the center is planning a recruitment night next month to help attract more staff. “Like all sectors right now, we are facing a shortage,” Ms Comerford said. “About 20% of Australian childcare staff are from overseas and they have been unable to enter the country, which has put a strain on the whole sector.” Border closures and COVID have compounded the problem, she said. Meanwhile, TAFE NSW Orange is currently encouraging those interested in a career in early childhood education to help fill the skills gap by enrolling in its Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care. He says the industry already employs the most people in the Midwest, but more qualified and trained educators are needed to look after the children. Course graduate Stella Peppernell Baks, 18, who followed in her mother’s footsteps and is now living her dream of becoming an early childhood educator, says she has no regrets. “It’s the best job in the world, and I don’t think I’ve ever dreaded coming to work,” she said. “Having children who smile at you and appreciate you is so rewarding.” Our reporters work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:


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