Workforce development

Developing and maintaining a sustainable, highly qualified workforce is crucial to ensuring children get the best start in life.

The department is working on a plan for the early childhood workforce to ensure that we meet the diverse needs of children and families from all backgrounds, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, children with additional needs and those in regional and remote areas and create quality learning environments that promote the transition to school.


The 2016 National Early Childhood Education and Care Workforce Census reports an overview of the early childhood education and care workforce in Child Care Benefit approved services only.

The 2016 Census showed that nationally, 91.1% of early childhood workers are female with a median age of 34, and 28 years for male workers. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 2.0% of the workforce.

In NSW approximately 66,400 people are employed in early childhood education and care services, this is 34.1% of the national ECEC workforce.

Of those:

  • 37,300 are employed in Long Day Care and 11,700 in Family Day Care
  • 54% are employed part-time
  • 14% have Bachelor degree and above level qualifications
  • almost 83% of staff have an ECEC-related qualification.

For more details, a summary of available literature on Early childhood education workforce issues in Australian and international contexts (PDF 2877.64KB) is available.

Qualifications, accreditation, scholarships


Approved courses of study and trained staff to child ratios are outlined in the National Quality Framework (NQF), developed by the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA).

ACECQA also offers a qualification checker so providers can assess whether the qualifications of staff are recognised as an approved certificate III, diploma or early childhood teacher under the NQF.

The department is the regulator in NSW and can assess qualifications for services not covered under the NQF such as mobile and centre based occasional care services.

For more information, call 1800 619 113, email


Since July 2016 teachers working in long day care and dedicated preschools have been required to obtain accreditation by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA).

Accredited teachers meet the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. The standards define the knowledge, practice and professional engagement needed for highly effective teaching that improves learning outcomes.

Teachers must also maintain their accreditation through NESA by:

  • continuing to critically reflect on their practice
  • engaging in professional development (PD)
  • enhancing their practice to improve the learning outcomes of children and students.


Educators in NSW have access to a range of scholarships including:

  • Rural and remote early childhood teaching; for educators who have not yet started a degree level course
  • Incentive; for educators who may already be studying at degree level at university
  • Preschool disability support programs
  • Aboriginal early childhood education, available to people not yet working as educators.

Working with children check

A Working With Children Check is required by all new paid and volunteer staff before they begin child-related work.

Existing early childhood education staff must have a WWCC by 31 March 2018.

WWCC applications are made directly to the Office of the Children's Guardian.

A clearance is valid for five years, subject to ongoing monitoring.

Employers must register with the Children's Guardian to verify all employees have a valid WWCC.

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