Earlier this month, Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care in BC announced that there will be 22,000 new licensed spaces coming over the next three years. Having safe, affordable, child care is a significant barrier to employment and ASPECT is supportive of this initiative. In recent conversations with one of our members, however, we learned that there are challenges ahead:
- There's currently a shortage of Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) and ECE Assistants to fill current needs, let alone an expansion of services.
- Online training is a good first step, but formalized on-the-job training is needed to fully understand the complexities of the job.
- ECEs are in high demand from school disctricts who pay more, offer better hours, and benefits. Those operating child care services are having challenges attracting and retaining qualified staff.
ASPECT, along with one of our members, is looking at how we can help mitigate the challenges of meeting child care needs while providing employers, service providers, and clients. We are meeting with diverse groups, government, and employers who are already addressing these issues to determine what's being done and to come up with a solution to present to government. If you have any ideas or comments, I invite your feedback.