Industry Insight into Early Childhood Education

On Tuesday the 29th of September the Skills and Jobs Centre teamed up with Wyndham City Council to deliver an Industry Insights Panel into the Early Childhood Education and Care sector.

We were excited to be joined by Sonija Smit, Service Excellence Lead with Wyndham City, and Sharleen Lancaster, State Manager from Sparrow Early Learning in Wyndham, to talk about the childcare industry, job opportunities, and recruitment and career pathways available. The passion Sonija and Sharleen have for the industry was evident in the virtual Zoom room, and was embraced by all attendees. What an amazing session to be involved in!

If you are currently studying childcare or are considering enrolling in a course at the beginning of 2021, keep reading, as there is valuable information that will help you decide if this industry is for you. If you have already decided that you want a career in childcare, you’ll find out about job opportunities and read some tips from the experts about the recruitment process.

What does it take to begin a career in childcare? If you are a nurturing and passionate person and enjoy building lifelong relationships, having fun and occasionally being a bit silly, this industry could be for you. Sonija explains that every day she leaves work feeling as though she has accomplished something, such as teaching a child something new like a developmental skill. It’s an extremely enriching career and keeps her coming back, even through the more challenging times.

Sharleen explained that some people are born with a natural ability to look after children; however, this doesn’t necessarily have to be a quality you have already. If you are persistent and apply yourself, this will come over time

Both panelists confirmed today that during the pandemic there were no jobs losses at their centres, and with people in the Wyndham area slowly returning to work, they are getting busier and are needing to recruit more staff.

With extra funding recently announced for the 3yo kinder, recruitment will begin in early 2021 for around 6000 more Early Childhood Teachers. It will be a staged approach across the country and state for the next 2-3 years.
This is a growth industry, with many centres looking to hire those with Certificate III, Diploma and Bachelor Early Childhood Education level qualifications. Now seems like the time to seriously consider the childcare industry as a career option.

Recruitment:

Below are the types of roles available across the industry that you might be interested in:

  • Childcare Assistants (Certificate III or Diploma Qualification)
  • Room Leaders (Diploma Qualification required)
  • Team leader or Service Manager – On the floor teaching and office work (Bachelor of Early Childhood Education)  
  • Kindergarten Teachers – 3 and 4yo (Bachelor of Early Childhood Education)
  • Office administrators
  • In-training early years educators (Diploma Qualification, working towards ECT)
  • Cooks/Chefs

And there’s other employment opportunities in the childcare industry, such as nannies, out-of-school-hours coordinators, Family Day Care assistants and more…  

What are they looking for when hiring?

  • Include your past work or volunteering history on your resume. Recruiters want to see that you have had experience working with other people, not necessarily only in the Early Childhood Education industry.
  • Your resume does not need to be long, 1-2 pages is enough.
  • Include a Cover Letter.
  • Give detailed answers in your Selection Criteria.
  • Try to align your selection criteria answers/and cover letter content with examples that reflect the vision and values of the organisation to which you are applying to.
  • Always be yourself in the interview! Its ok not to know everything about the job, ask questions and show you are willing to learn.
  • If English is your second language, that’s great, as centres embrace diversity and love being able to expose children to different cultures and languages. It’s so important now for our children to become global citizens and both Sonija and Sharleen expressed the importance of children hearing and learning different languages.

To view upcoming job opportunities with Wyndham City follow this link: https://recruitment.wyndham.vic.gov.au/careers

Or Sparrow Early learning here:

https://www.sparrowearlylearning.com.au/careers

Career pathway resources:

https://www.vic.gov.au/free-tafe

https://www.vic.gov.au/kinder

https://www.vic.gov.au/make-difference-early-childhood-teaching

Placement opportunities with Wyndham City:

https://www.wyndham.vic.gov.au/careers/employment-pathways/work-integrated-learning-wil-tertiary-student-placements

Contact:
Skills and Jobs Centre:

If you are currently completing your qualification in Early Childhood Education and need assistance preparing your resume, cover letter, selection criteria or getting ready for that all important interview, get in contact with the Skills and Jobs Centre to organise a free appointment for support from one of our qualified Careers Advisors, phone 5225 0700 or email us at skillscentre@gordontafe.edu.au

Job Seeker Information Session

Job Seeker blog_picHere at the Skills & Jobs Centre we’re really getting into the swing of using Zoom for our workshops and information panels! Goes to show that you can learn new skills at any age…

Last Friday we hosted speakers from a variety of organisations who talked about job hunting while we’re in COVID-19 lockdown and managing our mental wellbeing at the same time.

Where are the jobs?

Marianne Messer – Geelong Region LLEN

Job seekers in the Geelong region now have a consolidated online jobs board, which takes away a lot of the stress of searching across different online job boards on social media. Marianne explained how her organisation has partnered with Simon French, the Geelong Employment Facilitator, on the Geelong Careers site – a great example of working cooperatively in COVID-19 time. Back in 2019, the Barwon region was doing well; however, we’re now seeing significant drops in hospitality and accommodation jobs. Transport, logistics and health job vacancies have increased, though the application process is more competitive.

  • Search jobs on https://www.geelongcareers.org.au/ – it’s free and local!
  • Make sure you get the word out amongst your networks that you’re looking for work – many jobs out there are word of mouth and don’t get advertised
  • Use social media to look for job groups…

…which leads us neatly into insights from the Skills & Jobs Centre’s Jodie Walsh – our social media queen…

Social media and recruitment agencies

Jodie Walsh – The Gordon Skills & Jobs Centre

Did you know that Geelong Job Watch on Facebook has 25,000 members? Or that Geelong Jobs has 15,000? Jodie knows – she manages our social media accounts and understands the importance of social media for job search these days. There are approximately 9 Facebook pages for employment in Geelong, 1 in the Surfcoast, 2 in Colac and 2 in Werribee/western suburbs. See the Facebook Job Groups list at the end of this blog.

Over 90% of Geelong’s business community is small business, and these types of employers advertise their jobs on social media because it’s free and easier to use than sites like Seek.

  • If you’re concerned about your online presence, make sure you set your accounts to the highest privacy settings. And you don’t have to post – just use your accounts for job search.
  • Search for local community noticeboards online, where there can be posts about job opportunities.
  • Follow businesses (FB, Twitter, LinkedIn etc) that interest you, so that you’re connected to their direct advertising.
  • For help with managing your privacy settings, the Facebook Help Centre is your one stop shop. For some basic instructions, go to https://www.facebook.com/help/325807937506242
  • Or, if you’re a visual learner, try one of the many tutorials on Youtube, e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VyoouopcDY Make sure that the video is made within the last 18 months so that it’s relevant to the most recent version of FB.

Recruitment agencies can be another good strategy for job search. Check out as many websites as you can and browse through the jobs listed. Register with them if they have positions that suit your preferred industry. But don’t complete your online registration and just wait for a call…it just doesn’t work that way. Check in on the agency websites regularly – make sure you’ve set up your jobs alerts properly to receive notifications.

There’s a comprehensive list of recruitment agencies in our region at the end of this blog – see Job Seeker Resources. Also read this informative past blog.

Large employers and the Working for Victoria (WFV) scheme

Colin Nicholson and Michaela Lobb – Department of Education & Training (Victoria)

Recruitment agencies are often the first point of contact if you’re looking for a job with large employers. Colin mentioned that large local companies such as Carbon Revolution, Cotton On, Chisholm Road Prison and Energy Australia are all recruiting at the moment. Remember that applying for jobs with large employers may be competitive, as recruiters will often advertise nationally through sites like Seek and Indeed.

Looking at a state level… The WFV scheme was initially set up by the Victorian government to support people who lost jobs directly as result of COVID-19. However, the great news is that anyone with full working rights in Australia is eligible to apply! WFV now has 25,000 job seekers and over 100 employers registered, and is partnered with recruitment agency Sidekicker.

Practical tips for job hunting in lockdown

Jo Black – The Gordon Skills & Jobs Centre

If you’re reading this blog then you’ll know that the Gordon Skills & Jobs Centre is a FREE service for local job seekers, with a team of knowledgeable and friendly advisors – such as Jo Black! One recruitment trend during COVID-19 is a preference for one-page resumes. Jo gave us a few pointers on this:

  • Given the increase in job scams recently, you do not need to include your full address on your resume and/or cover letter. However, mentioning your suburb may be an advantage if employers are looking for people living in the area who can be responsive
  • A profile statement at the top of your resume is a useful way to highlight how well you’re set up to work from home, eg ‘reliable NBN internet, laptop and headset’
  • Include your qualifications and training, and if you have a long work history, focus on the last 10 years
  • If you also need to include a cover letter, make this punchy, using four paragraphs that give a snapshot what you have to offer.

Scroll to the end of this blog for some Sample resumes and cover letter tips from the SJC.

It’s always important to prepare for job interviews, but social distancing rules mean you may need to do an online interview using a platform such as Skype or Zoom. Make sure you:

  • understand the technology and practise using it in advance
  • dress like you would for a face-to-face interview, set up at least 5 mins in advance for your interview, and locate yourself somewhere quiet and tidy with good lighting where you won’t get interrupted
  • have all your application documents close to hand, try to use your mute button when you’re not speaking, and be respectful to the interviewers.

Looking after your mental health and dealing with stress

Tony McManus – Local Ambassador for Beyond Blue and RUOK?

It’s a strange time at the moment, a period of chaos. As Tony emphasised, it’s super important to look after your mental health and reach out for help if you need it. Risk factors such as isolation, chronic illness and traumatic life events do have solutions: social connection, diet and physical activity, and a healthy work environment.

The Geelong Community Foundation plays a key role in supporting the broader Geelong community, with grants to support community organisations.

Here’s some links to mental health resources recommended by Tony:

Connect 2 Grow – Mental Health Solution

Resources for Workshop Attendees

Sydney Morning Herald Article & Fairfax Media video

https://www.beyondblue.org.au

https://www.ruok.org.au

Job Seeker Resources

Check out the great job resources on CareerHub that you can access as a Skills & Jobs Centre client.

If you haven’t yet logged into CareerHub, call us and we can step you through it. We’re still offering all our services – 1:1 career counselling, workshops, employer panels – by phone or Zoom.

Recruitment agencies with a local presence/office

Hays

Programmed Skilled Workforce

Randstad

People@Work

Direct Recruitment Geelong

Hoban Recruitment

Harvest Recruitment

SJ Personnel

Fruition Recruitment

WorkforceXS

Fox Personnel

Calibre Workforce (mainly hospitality)

JK Personnel (mainly Ballarat but sometimes has Geelong jobs)

External recruitment agencies for Geelong region – large volume, specialised and government recruitment

Chandler Macleod

Adecco

Manpower

Hudson

Toll Group Recruitment

DFP Recruitment

Face2Face Recruitment

Public Sector People

Facebook job groups

Jobs Geelong Region

Geelong Employment

Geelong Job Watch

Jobs in Geelong

Geelong Employment Opportunities

Jobs Search Geelong Area 1

Geelong Jobs

Jobs in Geelong Region

Jobs Vacant Geelong, Surf Coast & Surrounds

Surfcoast Jobs Available

Colac District Employment Wanted & Employees Wanted

Colac & District Jobs

Werribee & Surrounds Local Jobs

Jobs in Western Suburbs of Melbourne

Sample resumes and cover letter tips

https://careerhub.thegordon.edu.au/docs/50/WFV-one-page-resume-guidelines.docx

https://careerhub.thegordon.edu.au/docs/58/WFV-one-page-resume-sample_transferable-skills.pdf

https://careerhub.thegordon.edu.au/docs/18/Cover-letter_template.pdf

https://careerhub.thegordon.edu.au/docs/38/Cover-Letter.pdf

Sample answers to common interview questions.

Although you can’t predict exactly what questions will be asked – you can think about possible questions and prepare BRIEF responses beforehand.

Some questions will be behavioural (on the assumption that past behaviour is a predictor of future behaviour). This requires examples of where, when or how you did something.

For these use the S.T.A.R. method to help keep your responses relevant.

star
S.T.A.R. = Situation, Task, Action & Response

 

Straightforward Questions

Tell us about yourself?

  • Be concise, relevant and interesting.
  • What has lead you to this interview:
    • A passion for . . . . . .
    • Studied &/or worked &/or volunteered with . . . . . .
    • Gained relevant employability skills by . . . .
    • Now keen to . . . . . . .
  • Focus on how and why you became interested in this area or role & show the skills you bring to this position – show that you are a good fit for the position.

A Poor Response: Too few details, not convincing or focusing on one aspect e.g. your childhood.

Why did you apply for this role?

  • Why you are keen to work in this particular role and for this particular organisation.
  • Employers want people who are connected to working for them and working within their team.
  • Focus on the key factors that make you a great fit for the role.
  • You need to match your skills to the skills the role requires e.g.
    • ‘I have always been interested in . . . . ., and valued my studies in . . . . . .
    • ‘I have also gained relevant employability skills such as . . . in my work at/with  . . . and gained further skills such as . . . in my work placement/volunteer role at . . . .’
  • Next: Link that information to what the organisation does and how that connects to the role.
  • Finally, focus on what it is about the organisation that drew you to apply and why you want to be a part of that.

A Poor Response: I need a job.

What do you know about the company?

  • Show you have done some research. This requires information that is found on their website and/or under the ‘About us’ button.
  • Perhaps you can focus on an aspect from their Mission Statement, Values or History e.g. The fact that they are in a new, cutting edge industry.
  • It may require further research about the organisations future plans, or even knowledge of their achievements or the awards they have received.
  • Your networking skills may connect you with a contact person who works or worked there, and may provide more information.
  • Be clear as to why this information or knowledge about the company appeals to you.

A Poor Response: Not much.

Why should we hire you?

  • This is a great opportunity to sell your skills & experiences.
  • You need to show that you are capable of doing the work and delivering the results that the company wants.
  • Show you can fit in with the team as well as the company culture.
  • Show you are the best fit by focusing on examples that demonstrate the required skills and abilities from your recent experiences.

A Poor Response: Little detail.

What are your greatest strengths?

  • Be genuine, accurate and relevant.
  • Show your true skills – not just what they want to hear. It may also include values.
  • Choose the strengths that are most suitable for this particular position and be specific.
  • Give an example of how you’ve demonstrated these traits in a professional setting.

A Poor Response: Everything!

Really Difficult Questions (Don’t be afraid!)

How would you deal with conflict?

  • Examples need to reflect an understanding that we are all different and have different perspectives and ideas. In team meetings you need to show that you embrace the diversity of views, listen to others, appreciate their perspective, contribute and let the group and/or leaders make the decisions.
  • Sometimes people become frustrated and may behave badly. Whether this is someone in the general public or within an organisation, any conflict requires you to remain calm, listen carefully and focus on resolving the issue, or seek assistance from someone who can resolve the issue.
  • For issues with team members it may be that this outburst is unusual and may indicate that someone is struggling with other issue. You may need to check they are OK and encourage them to seek assistance.
  • In any example steer clear of being negative in your example and never criticise others.

A Poor Response: Criticising management

Why did you leave your last job?

  • This is such a tricky question.
  • Turn the focus to why you are seeking a new position.
  • You do not have to divulge personal details or mention everything you thought about your last position.
  • In the end you are seeking a new opportunity, a change, to gain more or broader skills, to work in a different or related area or to take up a promotion. You may have been training in a new area whilst working and now want to use the training and your employability skills in a new or different position. Or you may be passionate about what this company does and want to be a part of that.
  • Even if you felt unappreciated, that the culture has changed or you were no longer happy, now is not the time or place to discuss these issues.
  • It is better to focus on positive aspects such as seeking new challenges, extending skills & experiences, new qualifications and wanting to work in that area, limited opportunities where I was, retrenched, the business closed or had time off to have a family.

What are your weaknesses?

  • Another really terrifying question.
  • It is best to focus on something you have since addressed, that you used to do but have worked on so that it is not a problem now.
  • Focus on something you have improved e.g. skills such as planning and organisation, communication or working in multidisciplinary teams, or perhaps your personal life such as work/life balance or introducing more exercise in your daily routine.

Written by our resident interview champion, Robyn. If you need help with preparing for an interview, come along to Robyn’s interview workshop or make an appointment for interview coaching with any of the Skills and Jobs Centre advisors.

Picture credit: Geralt

So you think you’ve got the gift of the gab?

Phew! I’ve got an interview…

So I’ll be right now!

As a careers counsellor I sometimes hear people say,

‘Once I get to the interview, I’ll be right!’

‘I have the gift of the gab. I can talk to anyone about anything so it’ll be sweet!

This makes me want to cry!! An opportunity could be missed simply because you have not prepared.

It is never a good idea to speak ‘off the cuff’.

Even for politicians who believe they have the gift! They come unstuck. Regularly.

It is true you do not know what will be asked, so what can you do?

1. Be prepared, and you might have a chance to land the job.

2. Allow plenty of time. Seriously, it takes a lot of effort to think through what you might say.

Doing your research is essential. Research the organisation: online or through contacts, observations, talking to others, ringing to ask relevant thoughtful questions.

Find out as much as you can about who they are, what they do, plans for the future, what they value, what the culture of the place is?

  1. You can prepare some responses. Take a punt on other questions and prepare responses.
  2. Keep these responses brief. Dot points only.
  3. Use examples that demonstrate what you have done. Sum up by ensuring that it is clear how past training, volunteering or work has equipped you for this new role.
  4. Have a practice asking and answering.
  5. Transfer this information to prompt cards or notes with even briefer words that remind you of what you have been practicing.
  6. Practice your responses in front of the mirror, or family & friends.

Handy hint: As you go in you can ask if you can have your notes on the table.

If it is OK make sure you DO NOT READ the notes as you respond. Glance down to remind yourself, if stress has made your mind a vacuum.

These notes are a prompt resource only, to allow you to consider whether you have covered what you wanted to say and address it if not.

If they do not want you to bring these notes in, at least you have prepared yourself by practicing and you may in fact remember this information as you relax and enjoy the process of having a chat with the interviewer(s)!

Tips:

It is a chat! Enjoy meeting with new people and relax a bit. Smile. Look at the interviewer or interviewers.

They want to know if you have the skills and experience. So you have to be specific. You do have to talk about yourself and why you would be a good addition to the team. Don’t forget you are also trying to gauge whether you want to work for them. So listen carefully to their language.

You can do it. But only if you really prepare!

Written by our resident interview champion, Robyn. If you would like to find out more about preparing for an interview, come along to Robyn’s interview workshop at our Festival of Change.

Most common interview questions & how to answer them!

What will they ask? What do I say?

About them questions 

  • Why do you want to work for us?
  • What do you know about our company?

About you questions

  • Tell us about yourself?
  • What has been your greatest strength?
  • Why should we hire you?

Behavioural questions

  • Tell us about a time . . .
    • You made a difference to a team or process or colleague?
    • You had conflicting deadlines at work? What did you do about it?
    • When you built rapport with someone at work, even in a stressful or challenging situation.
  • Can you give an example of a time when you had to cope with interpersonal conflict when working on a team project and how you handled this?

How will I answer?

  • Focus on real examples
  • From a diversity of situations

Written by our resident interview champion, Robyn. If you would like to know more about answering interview questions, come along to Robyn’s interview workshop.

 

Practice makes perfect!

But Practice what?

Firstly, prepare!

  1. Common Interview Questions – it’s an educated guess!
  2. Responses to these common interview questions – use the STAR method & keep it brief!
  3. Focus on your strengths, experiences and skills from a range of areas.
  4. Talk about your education choices and achievements.

And then practice!

  1. Identify examples of achievements you want to promote & how they are relevant to this job.
  2. Get help – friends, colleagues, family or the Skills & Job Centre team – to practice potential responses.
  3. Focus on speaking clearly and concisely.
  4. Prepare a list of 2 to 3 questions you’d like to ask – Choose wisely!

And remember, practice makes perfect!

By our resident interview champion, Robyn Gray. If you need to prepare or practice for an interview, make an appointment with Robyn or another of our lovely advisors.

 

So you have an interview.. HELP!!

So, you’re wondering what you need to do to prepare you for an interview?

question mark man

Firstly, Don’t panic!

Follow these fail safe tips to kill it at the interview and land yourself that job!

1. Research, research and more research!

What?
The company’s website

Who?
Who they are, what they do,
how long have they been doing it

How?
Find the ‘About Us’ Button or ‘What we Do’
What are you looking for?
The Aims, Mission Statement &/or Values

Where?
Under History, Strategic Plan or ‘Who We Are’
Look for annual reports or other company publications

Why?
To show knowledge of the company
To show you are a suitable fit

2. Check out rival companies

What are the points of difference
Why do they think they are different

3. Re-check the position description

To expand on your application information

4. Prepare examples

Use a range of experiences (work, clubs, voluntary) to show how you have gained the specific skills, experience or qualities the job requires

5. Re-read the job advertisement and your resume

Think about what makes you a good choice for this employer
Specifically, which of your skills, experiences and knowledge make you a valuable asset to the company

Written by our resident interview champion, Robyn Gray. Subscribe to our blog to receive all of Robyn’s amazing interview tips straight to your inbox.

photo credit: Marco Bellucci via photopin cc