The Weekly Advertiser Horsham
Parent relief from carer recruitment
Acommunity service leader says the recruitment of a family day care educator in Edenhope will be a ‘major relief’ for West Wimmera shire parents.
Uniting Wimmera has employed Edenhope’s Rozy Ami, who will be the only family day care educator in the municipality working to help meet a major service demand.
South-west area manager Paula Clarke said after an extensive recruitment campaign, the organisation was able to recruit Ms Ami late last month.
“We’ve been working hard trying to recruit an educator,” she said.
“Our recruitment campaign in the Wimmera area involved print, radio and social media advertising.
“Rozy was already working with Uniting at our Kaniva early learning service for the past 12 months. She also resides in the Edenhope area, so she will not have to travel for her new position.”
Uniting Wimmera’s recruitment drive started when the only family day care educator servicing the area resigned in early June.
A parent-led community survey showed there were 38 children who required family day care services across Edenhope, Apsley and Goroke areas. It also showed the number would increase to 41 by the end of this year.
Parents were concerned a lack of services
would lead to parents having to take time off work to care for their children.
Ms Ami will be able to care for seven children, four under the age of five and three school-aged students, at any given time.
Ms Clarke said the shortage of educators in the Wimmera was part of a bigger issue affecting rural and regional Australia.
“Early Learning and Care Council of Australia, who we work with, has collated data and found this is a nationwide issue,” she said.
“There are more than 3000 workforce vacancies across the country. This is not just a Wimmera issue.
“The areas I cover, including Warrnnambool, Geelong, Ballarat and Bacchus Marsh, share these challenges in recruiting staff.”
Ms Clarke encouraged people who were interested in becoming an educator with Uniting to apply.
“Working in early childhood can be a life-long career,” she said.
“We have educators who have been with Uniting for decades.
“It can be a great career choice for people across the Wimmera if working with children is their passion.”
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute manager Rachel Robinson and Wimmera Development Association project manager Sally Marcroft are also working to address the childcare shortage.
The pair heard from about 35 people at Goroke, Kaniva and Edenhope during a series of community consultations investigating childcare needs across the municipality in July.
West Wimmera Shire Council also allocated $20,000 in its 2021-22 budget for a case study into resolving the municipality’s childcare issue.