Deciding where you want to work or whether to accept an offer can be a whirlwind experience, and it’s not uncommon for job seekers to eagerly accept what seems like a great role, with only a surface view of how their new workplace really operates.

The trick to finding the right fit is to look critically at any opportunity and try to really understand what the reality of working in a particular centre is likely to be.

To support you, we’ve put together three top tips for helping you decide which is the best early learning centre for you.

1. confirm your priorities

Before making a move in the early education sector, it’s important to consider how your future role and work environment will fit within your existing lifestyle.

Look at what you value in your current situation and what you are seeking in this next phase in your career. Are there values and or experiences that you treasure from your current employer or lifestyle that you want to bring to your new workplace, or anything you want to leave behind?

Our recent Randstad Employer Brand Research shows for example that work-life balance is the single most important reason that more than half of employees choose their employer, and that alignment of personal values with the workplace culture is a key factor for employee satisfaction.

So, before you make a career change or decide on a new early learning role, confirm your personal priorities.

This means thinking about things like:

  • Full-time or part-time – what working hours are practical for you?
  • Travel time – will this suit your desired schedule?
  • Professional development potential – will this workplace nurture your growth, and help you achieve your goals?
  • Team size and structure – where will you sit in the organisation? Is it important for you to be part of a small, tight-knit team or would you prefer a large organisation with lots of people and places to move?
  • The facilities, programs and initiatives for both employees and children
  • The culture and values – how do they match with your style? Ask the hiring manager and employees to describe these for you and provide some examples if that helps you to get a better picture of the reality of the workplace
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2. evaluate what you need to succeed

When looking at your options it’s crucial to consider the job description and what you’ll actually be doing day to day. You may be ready for a management position or you may want to spend more time with children. These desires will affect what positions you apply for and your responsibilities when entering a role.

before applying, ask yourself:

  • What size group do I want to teach?

Going between local community-run early childhood centres and larger service providers can mean the number of children under your care will change. A small intimate group of under 20 may be appealing due to the specialised interactions with children. Or, a larger daycare setting with more team members may be what you need to thrive.

  • Who do I want to teach?

Choosing the age bracket you want to teach will depend on your qualifications and preference. It’s important to recognise what value, skills and knowledge you can bring to the room.

  • Do I want to be in a leadership role?

The early learning sector provides an abundance of opportunities to progress. Many of these senior roles have a direct impact on the decisions of any early childhood facility. Positions including group leaders, centre managers and 2ICs provide the opportunity to impact the overall structure and operations of a workplace.

3. assess the employee benefits

Looking at the benefits your new workplace could offer can give you a good insight into the culture of a workplace, and how you see yourself adjusting to a new company and workplace.

key employee benefits to review or ask about include:

  • Benefits of enrolling your own children
  • Extra annual leave entitlements
  • Flexible working times
  • Career development opportunities
  • Technology integration
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