Grow Your Own

The Grow Your Own (GYO) program has been launched in the Illawarra and Wingecarribee regions to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early childhood educators.

About the Grow Your Own program

The GYO program has been launched in the Illawarra and Wingecarribee regions to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early childhood educators and consists of three components:

  1. A pre-employment program offering a taster of a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care traineeship
  2. Scholarships and mentoring to trainees to undertake a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care and/or Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care.
  3. A subsidy to early childhood education and care services to support the ongoing employment of trainees for a minimum of 18 months post training.

The GYO program is a direct result of a Local Decision Making accord between the Illawarra Wingecarribee Aboriginal Alliance Corporation and the department. The objectives of the program are to:

  • Increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early childhood educators in the Illawarra and Wingecarribee regions.
  • Support the ongoing development of the early childhood education workforce in line with the department’s Workforce Strategy.
  • Improve the quality of early childhood education services in NSW.
  • Build the capacity of local people and people of diverse backgrounds in obtaining early childhood education qualifications and employment.

The program will be delivered by ECTARC, a community owned, not for profit organisation that has successfully managed education and care services in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven for over 34 years.

Information for services

Applications for the 2021 service subsidy have now closed.

Benefits of participating in the Grow Your Own program

  • $20,000 paid to successful applicants to assist with the costs of employing a trainee for a minimum of 18 months after the end of their traineeship at or above award rates.
  • An opportunity for services to help build the capacity of local Aboriginal people in obtaining early childhood education qualifications and employment in the Illawarra and Wingecarribee areas.
  • Services will receive high quality mentoring and support from ECTARC over a two year period for the trainee.
  • Traineeships and apprenticeships are a great way to give someone the chance to commence an early childhood career. It is a wonderful opportunity for experienced early childhood educators to model best practice and mentor new people.
  • Trainees and apprentices may be included in staff ratios.
  • When the trainee or apprentice finally gains their qualification, your service will have a skilled worker that knows the children, parents and how your service operates.

Eligibility criteria

There are 10 subsidies available in 2021 and the successful services must:

  • Be a licensed service run by an approved provider.
  • Have a current Australian Business Number (ABN).
  • Commit to employing the trainee for a minimum of 18 months following the completion of their traineeship at or above award wages.

The service must not:

  • Be an Australian, state or territory government agency.

Trainee allocation

Following completion of a pre-employment program, trainees will be provided with a list of participating services to choose from and will select one or more services to apply to based on their personal preferences.

Services will review the applications and interview the trainees. Services will then select the successful applicants.

Information for trainees

Traineeships are an excellent way for someone to commence an early childhood career.

During the traineeship you will gain valuable knowledge and experience whilst working and studying alongside qualified and supportive educators to complete your Certificate III or Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care.

Successful applicants for the Grow Your Own traineeship will receive:

  • A traineeship in Certificate III and/ or Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care
  • $3,000 to assist with the costs of study.
  • The opportunity to work at quality services with qualified educators
  • Extensive mentoring support throughout the traineeship.
  • The possibility of ongoing employment with a service for an additional 1.5 years after the traineeship is complete.

Eligibility criteria

There are 10 scholarships available in 2021 and successful applicants must:

  • Be of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent.
  • Identify as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person.
  • Be accepted as such by the community in which you live or have lived.
  • Be a resident of the Illawarra or Wingecarribee regions or committed to working in those regions.
  • Intend to pursue a career in early childhood education and care.
  • Be genuinely committed to undertaking the practical and theoretical components of the program.
  • Have completed the pre-employment program

Duration of the grow your own traineeship

  • Traineeships can be full-time or part-time. It is expected a full-time Certificate III traineeship will be completed in 12 to 18 months.

About the pre-employment program

What does the pre-employment program offer?

  • The pre-employment program offers program participants the opportunity to develop transferrable skills including First Aid Certification and develop some skills specific to early childhood education.

Who will deliver the program?

  • The program will be delivered by ECTARC, a registered training organisation based in the Illawarra region.
  • Warrigal Employment can offer support to participants (register with Warrigal Employment to receive additional support, details below).

How long will the pre-employment program run for?

  • The program will run for 2 days per week for 4 weeks
  • In the final 2 weeks of the program participants will also have the chance to spend time in an early childhood education and care service, getting a feel for what work in the sector looks like.

What are the benefits of the pre-employment program?

  • Gain transferrable skills to support employability across various professions.
  • Extensive support from the program facilitators throughout the pre-employment program.
  • Gain a First Aid Certificate and a Statement of Attainment for the units participants successfully complete.
  • The opportunity to experience what it’s like working in an early childhood education service.
  • Support with the application process for the Grow Your Own traineeship program.

Service matching

After completing the pre-employment program, trainees who want to apply for a Grow Your Own traineeship can select one or more participating services to apply for. Services will review the applications and interview trainees to select successful applicants.

How to apply

Services

Applications for services are now closed.

Trainees

Pre-employment program

  1. Apply for the pre-employment program through SmartyGrants, or
  2. Register with Warrigal Employment and apply for the Grow Your Own pre-employment program through them to receive additional support. To register, contact Warrigal Employment at warrigal@iac.org.au or call 02 4276 1878.

Applications for the pre-employment program are open from 22 June 2021 until 18 July 2021.

Grow Your Own Traineeship Program

Following completion of the pre-employment program it will be possible to apply for a Grow Your Own traineeship package. The application process will be online, via SmartyGrants and the link will be provided to program participants. You will be asked to provide:

1. An expression of interest (maximum two pages) which outlines

a) Why you are interested in a career in early childhood education and care

b) Your commitment to engage with the practical and theoretical components of the program

c) Nominating which of the participating services you want to work with

2. Confirmation of Aboriginality

3. Proof of residence in the Illawarra or Wingecarribee areas (or statement of willingness to work in these areas)

Program guidelines

Download the program guidelines (PDF, 100KB) for further information.
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