The Rural and Remote Workforce Initiative aims to provide additional study support to early childhood education and care educators in priority rural and remote areas of Queensland to gain approved early childhood qualifications. The Initiative has three separate but integrated elements, including the Rural and Remote Early Childhood Teacher (ECT) Scholarship Program, which is aimed at supporting Diploma and Advanced Diploma qualified educators in rural and remote services to gain an approved ECT qualification; Indigenous Remote Support Coordination (IRSC) project , which is providing support to educators in remote Indigenous communities to gain approved early childhood qualifications; and Growing Our Own Program (GOOP), which is providing additional study support for rural and remote educators to meet legislative qualification requirements.
The different programs of the Rural and Remote Workforce Initiative are contained within the Queensland Government Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Workforce Action Plan (WAP) 2016-2019, which has been developed in consultation with the sector, has a vision for the ECEC workforce to be seen as ‘professional, qualified and valued’.
ECEC services in remote areas face particular challenges in recruiting suitably qualified educators, growing the capability of their educators and building capacity within their communities. These challenges, coupled with new legislative requirements, make it vital that ECEC educators in isolated areas are given support to upskill and complete their qualifications.
By enhancing workforce planning, retention and upskilling of educators in these services, the initiative aims to support the delivery of high quality early childhood education and care in priority rural and remote communities, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.