Doing it for the Kids: Guardian Features in the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun!

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Working at Guardian is more than just a job. It’s an opportunity to progress your career in a highly rewarding and growing sector. Guardian was recently featured in The Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun where journalist Cara Jenkin features Guardian’s Claire Penno. Read the full article below.

Doing it for the Kids

More workers who want to give future generations a good head start should consider this growing sector. Cara Jenkin reports.

Jobs in early childhood education are forecast to grow at twice the rate of those in schools until at least the start of next decade.

Employment department figures show the preschool education sector is predicted to have 20 per cent jobs growth in the five years to November, 2020 – equal to about 9100 more workers, bringing the total national workforce to 53,200 people.

Meanwhile, the early childhood teacher profession is also forecast to grow by 27 per cent – more than double the 12 per cent growth estimated for school teachers – to reach 46,200 workers in the same period.

The sector is growing in part because of the move from providing preschool children with care while their parents work, to educating and equipping them with skills early so they can succeed in life.

The educator-to-child ratio required has also fallen in recent years, requiring more staff to be employed; while qualification standards also have changed.

Guardian Early Learning Group’s Claire Penno, pictured left with Kimmy, 4, and Lennon, 2, has noticed the growth in jobs as well as professionalism since she began working in the sector about 15 years ago.

“It’s something that we’ve always known. It’s not just the caring for children, but educating them – they are the future,” she says.

Penno’s employer practices what it preaches with employees as well as clients, offering professional development to its educators and support staff to further their careers. “We recognise to get quality staff, we need to be investing in that,” she says.

As well as offering financial assistance to study a bachelor degree or a vocational diploma, it offers staff study tours to Italy to learn more about its Reggio Emilia-inspired curriculum, and at its new Pedagogical Exchange in Melbourne, employees can be trained in line with top early childhood education standards.

Penno was working as a room leader when she first started with Guardian and has moved up the ranks.

It has included overhauling and opening several early learning centres in its 90-centre portfolio, which have become key services in their local communities.

Her senior operations role is something she did not expect to end up in when she first started her career straight after high school as a Diploma of Community Services (Children’s Services) graduate.

“They saw potential in me before I even knew that potential,” she says.

Most recently, Penno has received financial and study support from her employer to obtain a Bachelor of Early Learning to complement her work experience.

“I wanted to be ahead of the game and expand my own knowledge,” she says.

“I’d wanted to start studying it many times and working full time, I always ended up deferring due to work commitments.

“Guardian offered an opportunity to study it and have supported me.

“I’ll have that knowledge behind me and be able to draw on that in my current role.”

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