Investing in our workforce

$281.6 million is committed over 4 years in a package of measures to attract more staff to the early childhood education and care sector, retain current teachers and educators and provide more opportunities for existing workers to upskill.

An animated explanation of our workforce investments

Early childhood teachers and educators help our littlest learners become learners for life. In the important first 2,000 days or 5 years of life, educators help children build the social, emotional and cognitive skills they need for the best start in life and learning. They are skilled and dedicated professionals, who know how to engage children in important, play-based learning experiences that support growth and development.

It's vital that we support our teachers and educators to enjoy a career that sets children on the path to health, happiness and success. All levels of government, employers, and the sector have a role to play in supporting the early childhood education and care workforce.

The NSW Government's Early Years Commitment recognises the importance of early childhood teachers and educators and the contribution they bring to children, their families, and communities.

It includes a record investment of close to $300 million to 'turbocharge' the number of qualified professionals through scholarships of up to $25,000, accelerated qualification pathways and supporting employers to ensure quality education and care.

An investment to help early childhood educators and teachers shape the future of NSW.

The Early Years Commitment. Brighter Beginnings, Big Futures.

Find out more on our website or follow us on Facebook.

This significant investment recognises early childhood educators and teachers for their dedication and commitment to the lives of children and families in NSW.

It addresses the ongoing shortage of - and increasing demand for - qualified early childhood educators and teacher. More than 18,000 current and future early learning professionals are expected to benefit from the package.

The department is working closely with the early childhood education and care sector to design and deliver a wide-ranging suite of activities with a strong focus on outcomes for our children, while meeting the needs of early childhood teachers and educators.


The workforce package is expanding the scholarship program to relieve financial pressure for students. It will also create opportunities for existing workers to upskill and progress their careers in early learning.

Higher education scholarships

Scholarships of up to $25,000 are on offer to provide financial support for students completing a bachelor level qualification in early childhood teaching.

Students may also be eligible for a completion incentive payment if they remain employed in the early childhood education and care sector.  

VET scholarships

In November 2022, new scholarships of up to $5,000 were launched for eligible students studying Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualifications in early childhood education. Applications have now closed but keep your eye on the Early Childhood Careers pages for new opportunities.

These VET Scholarships are awarded in addition to the fee-free pathways for Certificate III and Diploma qualifications which are available to those wishing to upskill or reskill in ECEC through NSW Job Trainer.

Streamlined pathways

The department will work closely with universities, registered training organisations and employers to deliver innovative and accelerated career pathways that better support teachers and educators to upskill.

This will include supporting Certificate III qualified-staff to study diplomas and diploma-qualified staff to study bachelor qualifications.

Support through the fund

The early childhood education and care workforce will be a key priority for the Childcare and Economic Opportunity Fund, which represents an investment of $5 billion over 10 years.

Find out more about the Childcare and Economic Opportunity Fund.

Early childhood education and care careers

If you're interested in kickstarting a career in ECEC, or if you're an existing educator or teacher looking to upskill, visit our dedicated Early Childhood Careers page for information, resources and development opportunities.


What this means for Sam and her employer

Sam now sees her future in early childhood education and care

Sam has worked at a long day care in Campsie for 3 years. She finds working with children rewarding but struggles to see options for career progression and increased pay. She's considering the profession.

However, Sam discovers that she can get support to study for an early childhood teaching degree while she is working. 

She looks forward to graduating with her teaching degree and the rewards that it will bring. She feels more valued by her employer and sees opportunities to grow her career in the sector she loves.

Sam's centre director now finds it easier to upskill and keep their valued staff

The centre director at Sam’s workplace, Sunita, has struggled to find and keep experienced staff. Sunita works with the NSW Department of Education to access new workforce initiatives. She's pleased to see her staff taking them up, learning new skills and being rewarded.

Early childhood educator sitting with two students at play table Early childhood educator sitting with two students at play table
Image: For illustrative purposes only

More information

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To provide feedback or ask us a question about the Early Years Commitment please contact:

Early Years Commitment team

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