The Powell River campus of Vancouver Island University (VIU) is rolling out an Early Childhood Education & Care (ECEC) program that will train people to enter the workforce as early childhood educators. The program will be starting in September 2015.
This week, on April 1st and 2nd the university will hold three information sessions to introduce the ECEC program to potential students.
Early childhood educators plan and organize activities for preschool and school aged children. They are employed in child-care centers, kindergartens, nursery schools and other areas where childhood education is important. Currently the field is seen as a growing competitive job market with 97% of the workforce employed being female (according to Work BC statistics). Average salaries run from $11,000 to $33,000 yearly.
You require a clear criminal record check for entrance into the industry. Workers in the industry are also required to apply for an ECE licence that can be gained after the completion of the ECEC program. This license will have to be renewed every five years.
Click here for more information about the career path of an early childhood educator, or visit the ECEC program home page on the VIU website.
We managed to catch up with Alison Taplay, the disability studies coordinator at VIU, to ask a few questions about the ECEC program and the upcoming information sessions.
- How many students will be in the ECEC Program?
The ECEC program can accept up to 30 students.
- What is the length of the program? How much time will be spent in a practicum?
The program will run over two years – from September 2015 to June 2017. Within the two years there are three practica totalling 500 hours.
- Why an ECEC program in Powell River now?
There has not been an ECEC graduating class in Powell River since 2003 so there is now a shortage of ECEC providers in our community. Faced with a retiring work force, Child Care centers report they are unable to recruit qualified workers. Many centers have a retiring work force and are seeking new employees. As well, there are insufficient day care seats in the community, especially for infants and toddlers and for families needing after school care so there is opportunity for entrepreneurs to open their own family home or community based centers. For these reasons, the ECEC Powell River branch has been advocating for an ECEC course in Powell River.
- What will people learn about at the information sessions?
People attending the information sessions will learn about the admission process and requirements, the courses that are part of the program, the timetable for the first year, what they should expect as students in terms of time commitment and study, and the student services available to support their success including financial advising. The Program Co-Chair, Sheila Grieve, as well as one of the Nanaimo instructors Danielle Alphonse are travelling from Nanaimo to attend the information sessions so it is a great opportunity to get first hand answers about the program. Danielle and Sheila will also be instructors in the first year so the information session is a nice opportunity to meet them as well.
Two information sessions will take place Wednesday April 1st at Tla’Amin Child Development and Resource Centre, from 1:30 – 2:30pm, and from 5:30 to 6:30pm. The third session will be on April 2nd from 1:30 to 3pm in Room 148 at the VIU Powell River campus.