The Thriving Futures program, an initiative jointly launched by BHP and Child Australia, has had a profoundly positive impact at Goodstart Somerville. Like many centres in the Early Childhood Education and Care sector, Goodstart Somerville has been struggling with a severe shortage of qualified staff, which ultimately led to a reduction in their capacity to offer childcare places to families residing in the regional Goldfields area. However, thanks to the support of the Thriving Futures program, the centre has been able to overcome this challenge and improve its capacity.
Through the support provided by the Thriving Futures team, Goodstart Somerville successfully employed 5 educators in just over 6 months, some local to the region and others from interstate.
As a result of this concentrated recruitment model attracting new and seasoned educators, the centre has been able to open an additional room, expanding its capacity to accommodate 20 local families who had been patiently waiting for placement, some for over a year.
This much-needed increase in occupancy has not only alleviated the stress of families struggling to secure childcare but has also contributed towards addressing the acute childcare shortage plaguing the Goldfields region.
One of the key pillars of the Thriving Futures program is its comprehensive professional development opportunities for childcare centre staff. Onsite consulting and mentoring sessions have been tailored to nurture educators in their professional journey, helping them achieve their individual goals. The program’s successful implementation in the Pilbara region for the past three years, with an impressive staff retention rate of over 76% since July 2020, serves as a testament to its efficacy in reversing the dire workforce shortage trends observed across regional Australia.
Tameika Best Centre Director of Goodstart Somerville expressed her elation at the program’s impact, saying,
“The Thriving Futures program has been a game-changer for us. Not only have we been able to attract talented educators enabling us to lift our capacity by an additional 20 childcare places, but the professional development opportunities have supported our whole team. It’s truly rewarding to see the positive impact on the families we serve.”
“Thriving Futures continues to demonstrate what can be achieved with a well-supported educator workforce development model. BHPs continued support allows the program to evolve and reach new heights. Working in partnership with the team at Goodstart to see such great outcomes for local families provides a clear case study of how incredibly powerful this initiative can be”, said Tina Holtom, CEO of Child Australia.
The Thriving Futures program has championed positive change at Goodstart Somerville, significantly mitigating the childcare shortages experienced in the broader Goldfields region.
By developing targeted solutions and nurturing the growth of educators, the program showcases a transformative approach to address the challenges faced by the childcare sector, one centre at a time.