Page 1436 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 6 April 2011

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MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for Children and Young People. Minister, on 16 November 2010 your federal colleague, childcare minister Kate Ellis, said that the childcare sector could not afford to lose longstanding carers who have experience in the sector but lack formal qualifications. She said that a ban on centres employing unqualified teachers from 2014 would be relaxed for longstanding staff. She said:

We value the existing work-force, and need to make sure that we have in place a rigorous system of recognising the skills that already exist for those who are really qualified but not so on paper.

Minister, do you agree with this statement?

MS BURCH: The childcare sector is looking forward to some reforms in ratios for next year and certainly in qualifications coming into effect in 2014. I understand that there are a number of people within the sector who have worked well and provide excellent care to families and young children here in the ACT and I have no doubt in other jurisdictions. The qualifications that will come into play from 2014 will require all workers within the sector to have a cert III certificate. There will also be increasing levels of diploma and advanced diploma, which is why this government is working with the sector particularly through CIT. I went out to visit them a couple of weeks ago and it is my understanding there are about 250 enrolments for cert III this year—

Mrs Dunne: On a point of order, Mr Speaker, my question was specifically about the qualifications of people who have been in the workforce for a long time and the federal minister’s comments. I asked the minister whether she agreed with the federal minister’s statement. I did not ask for an exposition on qualifications and programs at CIT.

MR SPEAKER: Minister, you have some time to go but you might like to focus on Mrs Dunne’s question.

MS BURCH: Absolutely; I was getting there in the moments I had left. A number of people within the workforce are choosing to get formal qualifications through enrolling from the outset for cert III but also going through CIT around recognition of prior learning. That is an important aspect of it. It is about mapping their existing skills and experience to nationally accredited cert III training that here is offered through CIT and our registered training organisations. RPLing is part and parcel of vocational training, and those opportunities will be afforded to the childcare sector.

MR SPEAKER: Mrs Dunne?

MRS DUNNE: A supplementary question, Mr Speaker.


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