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Getting Job and Work Experience in a Child Care Centre

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Getting Job and Work Experience in a Child Care Centre

Hands-on work experience is essential to becoming a child care worker. When you do your Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care (the minimum qualification for working in a child care centre starting last 2014) you need to complete between 80 and 240 hours of workplace based experience in a registered child care centre.

If you continue on to the Diploma of Childhood Education and Care, you’ll need to complete a recommended 368 hours of workplace based experience. So unless you’re already working in child care jobs in a registered child care facility, you’d better get ready to do some work experience!

How to get work experience in childcare

Find or choose a child care centre

So you need to get some work experience in child care – how do you choose which child care centre?

Start by seeing what facilities are running in your local area. You’ll make your own life much easier if you don’t have to commute long distances each day – which also costs you time and money.

Decide what kind of experience you want to develop. Do you want to work in a huge child care centre looking after 100 kids? Would you prefer a small, intimate setting looking after 20 children?

Some child care centres are run as part of a commercial chain; some are small, owner-operated businesses, while others are conducted by non-profit organisations or local governments. Knowing what kind of environment you’d prefer to work in can help you prioritise which centres to approach.

Reach out to family and friends. Networking is an excellent way to find opportunities you never knew existed. Talk to your parents and siblings, extended family and get in touch with friends. You never know who is looking for some extra help at their child care centre!

How to get a work experience position


Call them, or just walk into their reception, and tell them you’re looking to do some work experience in a child care centre.

Choose your time of day. They’ll probably be busy during peak drop off and pick up times for children – so plan to get in touch when they’ll have time to talk for a few minutes. Be friendly, shake hands, smile and make eye contact. Always be polite and watch your language!

Have a resume!

Learn how to get experience in child care work by investing in your qualificationIt’s any easy way to communicate essential information about yourself quickly (you can find a resume template here). If you’re really nervous about approaching a child care centre, it gives you a chance to put down everything you want to communicate to them in a single sheet.

Your qualifications should be listed clearly in your resume. Employers will check if you already have or are currently studying the most recent qualification, the Cert III in Early Childhood Education and Care, so don’t make it hard for them!

Don’t forget to write a short cover letter outlining what you want – why you’re applying to them, what you want to achieve, how long you want to work there.

You’re applying for a work experience position, so if you don’t have any work history or experience to put down on your resume, it’s not a big deal. You CAN tell them about any babysitting you’ve done, caring for younger siblings, or looking after kids of your own.

Include two references as well – people you’ve babysat for, school teachers, principles, previous bosses, a co-worker, a customer or client you’ve worked with regularly, member of a charity you volunteer with, or the coach of your sports team.

Create a good impression!

You’re asking them for a favour so make it easy for them to say yes. Dress well – appearance is a big part of first impressions. You don’t need to ‘suit-up’ but make sure you’re clean, neat and presentable.

Wear appropriate clothes – it’s not a night out, you’re trying to get a position working with children. Nothing low cut, not short-shorts, no spaghetti straps, don’t wear thongs and keep logos or art child-friendly (no zombie t-shirts, beer logos or foul language!).

Make nice, genuine comments!

Practice for job interviews at child care centres by preparing answers to some common questionsIf they have great toys, tell them you like their toys. If they have amazing play equipment, compliment them on it. Always be genuine but not over-the-top; most people can see through falsehoods, and trying too hard might be just as bad as being negative.

Don’t be afraid to ask them questions about their centre – they’re probably proud of it, and their skills as child care professionals. Questions demonstrate you’re keen to learn and you can find out a lot about how they operate. Even if you don’t get a position in that centre, the answers will help you at the next one.


Even before you approach a child care centre about work experience, and especially if they call you in for an interview; take some time to think through the kinds of questions they might ask you. You can tap family, friends and the internet for ideas if you’re struggling on your own.

Here are some interview questions you could be asked:

  • • How will you get here each day?
  • • Do you have any medical conditions the employer should be aware of? (Allergies, asthma – tell the, truth
  • • How will you balance work and study?
  • • Have you had any other jobs?
  • • Do you have children of your own?
  • • If you have tattoos and/or piercings, the interviewer may ask you if you’d remove them (piercings, not tattoos!) or cover them up when you’re at the child care centre?
  • • Do you have any experiences working with children?

You may also be asked specific questions about your skills and scenarios. Don’t worry, you will learn all the child care essentials while you are completing your child care course.

Starting Your Professional Child Care Career

Don’t forget – if you’re studying towards your Cert III in Early Childhood Education and Care, you can already start working in paying child care jobs! Most of the same principles we’ve covered here also apply when you’re looking for paid positions.

However, you may find it easier to get a volunteer position first if you don’t have any prior work experience. This way you should be able to get a good reference for potential employers and, most importantly, EXPERIENCE!

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There’s 10 comments (add a comment)

  • Helen Hollingsworth says:

    I am in my final weeks of my first year of BECE, and have been offered a position in occasional care, they have said that as of Jan 2014 the min requirement is a Cert III , and the job is dependent on the first year of my degree counting for something. What my Uni are telling me is that it doesn’t count, so, means that I can’t work in my chosen field until I graduate??? Deferring my degree to complete a Cert III seems a bit pointless; there has to be something in place that caters for people like myself, and many others like the two other students already working there that are in their 2nd & 3rd year of their studies, otherwise it means they are out of a job too.

    If you can please help me, or at least point me in the right direction, I’d be extremely grateful; I am extremely passionate about this, and feel there must be something I can do?? I want to start making a difference, and working with children now, and also be able to gain extra experience in my field whilst studying.

    Thanks in advance

    • Hi Helen,

      That’s a tricky situation! You can find the specific training requirements on the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority higher qualifications page. Your best bet would to get in contact directly with ACECQA who can be contacted at:

      – email
      – phone 1300 422 327

      They should be able to tell you definitively whether your qualifications mean you are eligible to work in that position in occasional care.

      The reason you may require the Certificate III in Children’s Services is that it’s a “how-to” course, which teaches the very specific skills needed to perform as a childcare professional. You don’t need to hold the Certificate III to continue working after Jan 2014, being enrolled and actively working towards the qualification is enough to fulfill the training requirements. IF ACECQA says you still need to complete the Cert III, you’ll likely be eligible for recognition of prior learning for your studies in the BECE and your vocational placement will be simple if you’ve already got a position with a childcare provider.

      Hope that helps! Let us know if you need any additional training.

      Inspire Ed.

  • Ritu Gupta says:

    I am starting my BECE in november. I just need to know about the work placement requirements for this course. When should i start looking for it as i have heard that it’s getting really hard to find place in centres for work experience.

    • Luke Imbong Luke Imbong says:

      Hi Ritu! The work placement requirements for the BECE may vary depending on your university or college. It’s best to ask them about details like the number of hours/days, schedule and location.

      For the Diploma of ECE, the minimum placement required is 240 hours within 2 years. You can apply for work placement anytime during your course, but it’s recommended that you complete the first few units of the course first.

      These will give you a solid foundation of the skills and framework involved in aged care so you can hit the ground running when you start your vocational placement. The hands on experience you’ll get here will also be useful for completing the other requirements of the course. If you have more questions, just let me know 🙂

  • Baljinder Brar says:

    I’m online student of certificate lll early chidcare education care. I want to start my work placement in any center of canberra. Can you provide me any center for workplacement please Thanks

  • Akon anei says:

    I finished certain three in early childhood education care I want to start my placement in any center in wa can you provide for any center for next year thanks

  • Amanda says:

    Can i do my work placement in a before and after school care center?

  • Khatameh says:

    Hi , I’m studying diploma early childhood education and care, I want to start my work placement in any center of Melbourne around Hallam or hampton park or dandenong and noble park. Can you provide me any center for work placement please thanks.

    • Joshua says:

      Hi Khatameh. We have a Vocational Placement Coordinator that can assist you in looking for an accredited facility for placement. Please book a call with your trainer using the Hub to get in touch.

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