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TOPIC: Teacher shortage and employer options for reducing staffing hassles

Teacher shortage and employer options for reducing staffing hassles 2 months 5 days ago #57

  • ChildForum National Office
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Let's have a conversation about staffing - add your thoughts about the current situation and what the future holds.
Many early childhood services are struggling to find suitable staff.
And if they are not having a problem with recruitment now, they are likely to when a current staff member leaves.
In a poll conducted by ChildForum of more than 800 education people, 90% said in their area that there was a shortage of qualified EC teachers.
Many employers are reporting that they are getting few, if any, suitable applicants for positions.
And we are losing well-qualified people who are walking away from their career due to safety and wage concerns.
To make matters worse, this is happening at a time when there is a shortage of labour in the NZ economy.
Our sector is competing with other sectors for potential workers.
According to economists the labour shortage is likely to be around for a number of years.
So acknowledging that, what are your options as an employer and as a service provider?
1. you could beg for more teachers to be trained - but this won’t bring immediate relief.
2. you could believe the govt is going to put a massive amount of new funding into ECE and so the problem is going to quickly disappear – but tertiary education, nurses and school teachers are clearly its priority.
3. you could try recruiting staff from overseas - but the govt is tightening up on working visas and there are strict English language requirements for teacher registration here.
As a business person you may not want to hear this, but until the staffing shortage eases and to reduce staffing hassles a wise option would be to limit child numbers and postpone your plans to open new services.
Otherwise, one thing you can do is look to recruit staff from non-traditional sources of labour, such as men, and cover the cost of on- the-job training and course fees.
Keep your current staff by finding out what they want and come up with solutions that will meet their needs and yours.
A staff member who has school-aged children and is struggling to organise care for them during school holidays could be easily poached by another service that can offer this to them, unless you can quickly enough find a way to accommodate this need.
Job advertisements are more effective in attracting interest if they offer what prospective employees actually want.
If you are one of the employers who has advertised that a person working for you will get things like: Fully subsidised healthcare, a uniform and a paid day off on their birthday, paid staff meetings, meetings for appraisal, and non-contact time. Think what this is actually saying about you.
Better than subsidised healthcare would be to make sure you are providing on-the-job training in health, safety and manual handling to help staff, keep themselves safe. You would have read or heard in the media, reports by ChildForum concerning bullying, injury and stress being major problems in early childhood workplaces. How do you ensure staff safety? Prospective staff will be attracted to knowing that you take staff safety seriously.
Providing a uniform or a day off on their birthday may give a prospective employee a sign that the service won’t be a good fit for them as a professional teacher and as an adult who is not a school kid. (consider instead putting that money toward a higher wage, or perhaps a clothing allowance and more annual or sick leave)
Paying staff to attend staff meetings is not a favour, it’s actually a legal requirement.
Likewise giving non-contact time is not a favour, as it is needed to enable paper work to get done.
And staff appraisals are what an employer should be organising anyway.
If your service is located in a rural area, perhaps an offer of cheap or free accommodation could be just the thing to attract new graduates to apply.
What wage people can get if they work in almost any job other than early childhood teaching is eye-watering in comparison. So if you offer a higher more competitive wage this will help to attract new staff and importantly retain your current staff. The key message here is that we have a labour shortage in NZ that is also affecting the early childhood sector, and it’s likely to be around for a few years at least.
So as an employer and service provider you must put effort into finding out what exactly current and prospective employees want.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Peter, Sue, Anaya, Dave Anderson

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Last edit: by ChildForum National Office.

Teacher shortage and employer options for reducing staffing hassles 2 months 4 days ago #58

Couldn't agree with you more Sarah - clear thinking about the multiplicity of problems. Finding suitable staff is the number one threat to our early learning centres

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Last edit: by Peter.

Teacher shortage and employer options for reducing staffing hassles 2 months 4 days ago #59

We have been advertising for 3 months for a newly qualified ECE teacher. Plenty of applications none that we were looking for. We have only just found someone and hoping that she will start next month as agreed

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Teacher shortage and employer options for reducing staffing hassles 2 months 2 days ago #60

Why would anyone want to work in early childhood education when the system lets teachers cop it and centre owners get away with so much. A friend was blamed after an incident involving a couple of children that only happened because her boss took a couple of teachers off the floor as the cook was sick so my friend was left on her own with over 20 kids. She left as it wasn't safe for her to keep teaching.

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Last edit: by Deb Johnson.

Teacher shortage and employer options for reducing staffing hassles 2 months 2 days ago #61

Hope it works out for you Jasmine. I know the struggle. We used to get several suitable applicants from a single advert in the education gazette, not now.

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Teacher shortage and employer options for reducing staffing hassles 3 weeks 2 days ago #656

and to add that I have taught for many years and love working with children but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone now. It's got too bad, unsafe practices and poor staff:child ratios, long hours, low pay, no appreciation, and burning out.

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