Grow Your Own

The Grow Your Own (GYO) program is being 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 is being launched in the Illawarra and Wingecarribee regions to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander educators and consists of two components:

  1. 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.
  2. A subsidy to early childhood education 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

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

Trainees and services will be matched by the department and ECTARC. As part of the application process trainees will be asked to nominate their preferred service.

Services and trainees will have the opportunity to meet to ensure compatibility.

Information for trainees

Traineeships are an excellent way for someone to commence an early childhood career. Many services take on a trainee each year to bring new staff into their centres and provide career opportunities for those wanting to enter the sector. Traineeships give educators an opportunity to pass on their knowledge and skills which they have gained from years of experience working with children.

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 Education and Care.

Successful applicants for the Grow Your Own traineeship will receive:

  • $3,000 to assist with completing a Certificate III or a Diploma.
  • The opportunity to work at quality services with qualified educators
  • Extensive mentoring support throughout the traineeship.
  • 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.

Duration of the program

  • Approximately 3 years, commencing end of July 2021.
  • 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.

Service matching

As part of the online application form, applicants will be asked to nominate their preferred service based on a list of participating services.

Every effort will be made to match applicants with their preferred early childhood education and care service, however, to avoid disappointment applicants are strongly encouraged to nominate more than one preference.

Information session

An information session for prospective trainees will be held in May 2021, the session will include:

  • details on the program
  • what it’s like working in an early childhood education service
  • information on what it’s like to undertake a traineeship
  • details about the mentoring provided.

Register here for the information session.

Key dates

Date Milestone

4 May 2021

Applications open for services – 12 PM

17 May 2021

Applications close for services – 11:59 PM

21 May 2021

Successful applicants notified

24 May 2021

Applications open for trainee scholarship

13 June 2021

Applications close for trainee scholarship – 11:59 PM

Mid July 2021

Successful trainees notified

Late July 2021

Trainees commence work

How to apply

Services

Applicants must complete an online application through SmartyGrants. Applications will be open from 12PM 4 May – 11:59 PM 17 May 2021.

Applicants will be requested to provide the following information:

  • evidence to support eligibility
  • a statement that addresses the selection criteria
  • a description of how the applicant will meet the program objectives.

Trainees

Applicants must complete an online application through SmartyGrants. Applications will be open from the 24 May – 13 June 2021.

Applicants will be requested to provide the following information:

  • evidence to support eligibility
  • a statement that addresses the selection criteria
  • preferred early childhood education and care service to work for, based on the list of participating services.

Program guidelines

Download the program guidelines (PDF, 493KB) for further information.
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