A current shortage in qualified early childhood teachers is predicted to spur new training opportunities for experienced but unqualified educators, thanks to the Government’s new changes and regulations for the ECE sector. There is also a demand for bilingual teachers, particularly those who speak te reo Māori or Pasifika languages.
Joanne Groenewald, Head of School for Early Childhood Education at Vision College Hamilton, says the ECE industry in New Zealand is growing and more qualified teachers will be needed in the future. "We are hearing every month of new centres being built, all with different teaching philosophies, increasing the need for more teachers and creating more options for parents and caregivers for their children."
"Combined with the new minimum teaching qualifications mandated by the Ministry of Education, and the proposal to move towards a 100 per cent qualified teacher workforce in ECE centres as well as for home based providers, New Zealand is going to be experiencing a shortage of qualified teachers, unless we recruit more students to the industry," says Groenewald.
The government have announced a draft 10-year strategic plan to improve the ECE sector, which includes raising the minimum percentage of qualified teachers in teacher-led early childhood centres from 50 to 80 percent by 2022, moving to 100 percent in the longer term, as well as improving the adult to child ratios.
Ministry of Education figures indicate that 57 percent of all teaching staff were qualified in 2018, up from 56 percent in 2017. However, in the home-based educators segment, 90 percent did not have an ECE qualification.
"This could mean the likes of those who may have 20 years experience but aren't fully qualified are working in centres, along with a high proportion of home-based educators, should look to ECE qualifications to upskill," says Groenewald.
There were 4,532 licensed ECE services in New Zealand in 2018, according to Ministry of Education figures, with more than 200,00 New Zealand children aged 0-4 attending at least once a week. There was growth in private education and care services (day cares), but a decrease in other service types such as kindergartens and play centres.
Groenewald also believes the industry is crying out for more bilingual teachers, particularly those who can speak Maori and Pasifika languages. This is backed up by Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's (MBIE) Occupation Outlook reporting that says the demand for early childhood teachers who are speakers of Maori and Pasifika languages is particularly strong.
"We have an intake in East Tamaki that is generally made up of students who can speak Māori and/or Pasifika languages, which reflects the demand for the multi-languages in our communities. Our tutors are also from our communities and speak the languages, so they are able to offer full support to our students," says Groenewald.
Click Here for more information about studying early childhood education with us. University Entrance (UE) is not required to start your journey towards becoming a qualified ECE teacher. We run intakes every March and July across four different campuses across New Zealand.