Rio Tinto: Mining giant joins forces with YMCA WA to tackle shortage of early childhood educators in Pilbara
Faced with a massive shortage of early childhood educators in the Pilbara, a mining giant and a not-for-profit have come together to help fill the void.
Rio Tinto and YMCA WA — also known as the Y WA — are addressing accessibility to early childhood centres with a $5000 family day care start-up funding package.
It comes as a national report conducted by Victoria University in 2022 made clear that WA has “the lowest overall childcare accessibility”.
Rio Tinto managing director Richard Cohen said the company was happy to be a part of the initiative.
“We are pleased that this partnership will assist in providing local families with additional choices for early childhood services,” he said.
“We understand that sustainable early childhood services are a key factor in building thriving communities.”
The Y WA chief executive Dr Tim McDonald said the partnership would help the not-for-profit provision for comprehensive support for educators looking to start their own businesses.
“Our partnership with Rio Tinto will help provide training to people who live in the area so they can confidently become family day care educators,” he said.
“Educators are free to set up their own business plus they have the advantage of operating under the Y banner, acting as a governing body that ensures compliance by the individual, and of course with access to all our resources, extensive experience in this area and our stringent safeguarding policies and procedures,” he said.
Local resident Patricia Raulf received a grant to operate in the region and says more people should consider getting on board.
“My situation is a little unusual because I have a swimming pool at home, so for compliance and safety reasons I rented another property to run my FDC business — Karratha Kinder House,” she said.
“I’ve been passionate about education since I was very young and when I was just five, I told my kindergarten teacher that I would one day be doing her job.
“I am so thankful not just for the grant, which covered licences and the basics to get set up, but the support from the Y has been invaluable.”
The grant will cover any home renovations required to ensure the property meets standards, licensing fees, the purchase of equipment or higher education costs.
Applicants will require a Certificate III of Early Childhood Education and Care or a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care to be eligible for the grant.
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