A new programme has been launched to help unemployed people become early childhood teachers, and it’s working. 

The Mana in Mahi | Strength in Work ECE programme is a partnership between Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand (ECNZ) and the Ministry of Social Development (MSD).

A first tranche of six adult students has completed a four-week pre-employment preparation programme in early childhood education provided by Te Rito Maioha. They have now all been placed in paid employment with early childhood centres, and will next month embark on further study towards qualifying in their new career. 

The six students were referred to the programme by MSD. One was under employed and the others were receiving benefits.  

Te Rito Maioha Christchurch | Ōtautahi Regional Education Leader, Raewyn Penman commented: “The participants are all passionate about wanting to work as early childhood teachers and they’re all keen to get started on their study.” 

“From here, while working 30 hours per week at their early childhood centre, the participants will undertake study towards their NZQA qualification in Early Childhood or Montessori, at level 5 and beyond.

“They will join a mid-year intake along with other students, beginning 26 July. Te Rito Maioha is assisting them with the application requirements to gain entry to the Bachelor of Teaching (ECE) programme, and there will be further support for the duration of their three-year studies.” 

The six participants in the programme were selected from a group of 16 MSD clients who attended a seminar to learn more about the opportunity and to decide if it was a pathway they wanted to pursue. Eleven were interviewed following the presentation, and of these six participants were shortlisted to complete the four-week pre-employment preparation programme. 

Ms Penman further commented: “The participants were all really grateful for the platform given to them through the Mana in Mahi programme, and the opportunity it has provided for them to move into permanent work. The employers involved are really supportive and appreciative of having the participants come in with the preparation they received through the pre-employment programme, and then also the on-going support through Mana in Mahi.” 

Te Rito Maioha CEO, Kathy Wolfe, added: “this is a great example of placing learners at the centre and providing barrier free access to potential learners who would have otherwise been too daunted to think about a career in ECE.” 

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