Children at Ginninderra Early Childhood Centre (GECC) took it in their stride on October 6 when their playground became a flurry of reporters, cameras and politicians. The Honourable Tanya Plibersek, Deputy Leader of the Federal Opposition and Shadow Minister for Women, and Yvette Berry, MLA for Ginninderra, paid a visit to the centre to meet participants in the Capital Region Community Services (CRCS) Childcare Pre Employment Program.
GECC is located in Belconnen Community Centre. The children are used to being part of a colourful and diverse community and tend to be highly social. Both Plibersek and Berry had lively conversations with the pre-schoolers with Plibersek saying, “It lifts your heart to see them playing”.
The BCS Childcare Pre Employment Program supports people who are disengaged from the labour market to enter the workforce. The program is designed to engage people who may not thrive in a formal education setting. It’s a mentoring model that combines training and formal qualifications with work experience and other supports.
Plibersek and Berry met Vicky and Shae, two participants in the program who have been spending two days per week at GECC and who will soon graduate with a Certificate III in Childcare and a Senior First Aid Certificate. Both Vicky and Shae have grown more confident each day since beginning the program in July this year.
Plibersek commented that the importance of the Pre-Employment Program is not just about the qualification, “It’s the community connection; knowing where to go for the next step.”
Plibersek said, “It’s a terrific investment in the Belconnen Community. People are desperate to get into the workforce but it can be hard to take the first step. Often the supports that people need are out there in the community but they don’t know where to find them. When organisations work together to provide that support you can really see it work.”
Due to the success of the model, conversations are already underway to offer a second Childcare Pre Employment Program in 2017.
Leslie Ralph (CIT) Yvette Berry MLA, Tanya Plibersek MP, Dira Horne (BCS CEO), Vicki Middlemis (program participant) Alicia Payne (BCS President) Shae Tyler (program participant) Emma Sckrabei (Riverview ACT), Julie Gorrell (BCS Senior Manager), Allison Sullings (BCS Senior Manager)
Tanya Plibersek and Yvette Berry hear Vicki Middlemis’ story Tanya Plibersek takes time out to play.
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