A vital component of both the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care and the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care is the real-world experience gained during your practical learning in the work placement. Much like an internship, this involves you completing a certain number of hours within an Early Learning Centre setting and working with the service’s team of Educators.
Work placement is such an important part of your training that the Australian Government recently increased the number of hours required to graduate. Not only will this applied learning improve your employability, but it will also be a great opportunity to experience first-hand what your future career as an Early Childhood Educator might look like.
During your work placement, you gain valuable skills that give your career a head start before you even complete your course. You get to know and play with the children, as well as observing and interacting with their parents and other staff members. This “hands-on” experience helps you put in context what you learn in the classroom, and turns you into a confident and job-ready Educator.
How is ZOI’s Work Placement structured?
It can be a little nerve-wracking to be thrown into the workplace in a new industry, especially for the first few days. This is why here at ZOI we like to give you as much information as possible to prepare for this adventure.
All work placements are arranged by ZOI Education with our high-quality partner services. We work very hard to ensure the centre we choose for each student will be a good match, including our endeavour to place our students within one hour from their home by public transport. It’s really important to update us when you change your address, and not doing so will affect your travel time on your next work placement.
Work placement happens in 4-week blocks, during which you are required to have 7 hours of contact time with the children per day on the same days as your course timetable, that is 3 days per week. This allows you to continue your part-time job while you are on your work placement, instead of interrupting your job for a full-time placement.
There are 3 work placements in the Certificate III course and 7 in the Diploma course (the Diploma course includes the 3 placements from the Certificate III). There is no work placement in the first term of your Certificate III, as this is a theory-based term where you will learn the fundamental skills that are necessary for your practical work experience.
During the entire 4 weeks of each placement, you will remain in the same room with children of the same age group. However, on your next placement you will work with children from a different age group and most likely in a different centre. By the end of your course, you will have worked with children from newborn to 6 years old. As a rule of thumb, we try our best to place you in very different services each time, so that your experience may be more varied and, therefore, more valuable.
The week before work placement is your “Questions and Answers Week”. During this time, you will get to review the topics covered in the previous term and go through the tasks that you will be assessed on during your placement. You will also get the opportunity to visit the Early Childhood Service where you have been placed, meet the staff, speak to the Director and fill in all the paperwork.
During work placement, the service’s staff members and educators will be there to support you and mentor you. You won’t be left alone with the children and won’t be counted as a part of the staff ratio, that is the number of Educators per child requested by Government regulations. This is to ensure a positive learning experience for you, where you don’t have to worry about taking too much responsibility.
Throughout the day, there will be tasks that you have to practice, including playing with the children, organising games and activities for them, assisting during their meal times, reading stories, drawing and so on. These activities will depend on the age of the children and vary from placement to placement, based on the unit of competency assessed in that placement. You will have plenty of time to complete your tasks and if you are struggling with anything you can always request extra time or advice.
In the final week of your placement, one of ZOI’s trainers will visit your service to assess you. As part of your assessment, your trainer will observe you completing the tasks that you have been practising, interacting with children and engaging with the other Educators. At the end of your observation, we will give you plenty of feedback on what you have done well and what you need to improve, along with tips and tricks to develop further for your next work placement.
At this time, it’s always a good idea to also speak to your room leader and the Centre’s Director to gain as much extra feedback as you can. Remember to reflect on your experience and take constructive feedback positively, as an opportunity to grow.
With some hard work and a bit of luck, you might even be offered employment with the service where you completed your work placement. In fact, many of our students believe that the work placement is a great opportunity to find a job in the industry, as well as making meaningful professional connections to fast-track their career.
Got any questions?
Get in touch with us to find out more!
And here below is a map the Early Childhood Education and Care Services that we are currently partnered with.