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Career fair aims to fill over 120 child care vacancies in the Sarnia area

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Sarnia-area child care providers say they have more than 120 full-time and part-time jobs to fill, a need that is expected to become more pressing after a recent agreement between Ontario and Ottawa which could lead to even more openings in the years to come.

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To fill the void, more than 15 licensed urban, rural and home child care centers have come together with the Lambton County Department of Children’s Services to host a job fair on May 18 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Quality Inn at 751 Christina Street North. , Point Edward.

Available jobs include early childhood educators, assistants and support staff.

Like other employers during the pandemic, “we’ve seen some of our educators leave our child care programs,” said Claire Giles of the North Lambton Childcare Centre.

At the same time, a deal bringing Ontario into the national child care program will see “significant growth” in licensed local places, she said.

“We clearly see that there is a need for new educators,” Giles said.

Representatives from local child care services will be on hand at the job fair to accept applications, discuss career opportunities and provide information on jobs in the sector.

There are currently 1,229 licensed child care spaces for infants through preschool in Lambton County.

It’s not yet known how many of the 86,000 additional spaces across Ontario that the new deal is expected to create will be in Lambton, but Melissa Fitzpatrick, the county’s children’s services manager, estimates there could be 1 000 more, depending on the local population. children.

This could lead to more than 100 additional jobs in the years to come, Giles said.

Currently, there are more than 900 children on local waiting lists for infant places in preschool, Fitzpatrick said.

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“When we talk about 120 vacancies in our workforce, that means we can’t deliver 100% of our capacity,” Giles said.

Giles said the two years of pandemic measures have been difficult for childcare workers, leading some to quit those jobs. Additionally, the sector’s workforce is maturing and this has also led to “some exits,” she said.

The pandemic has also impacted college programs, Giles said.

“We don’t see as many early childhood educators coming out of post-secondary,” she said. “Hopefully this will correct itself.”

Additionally, the sector competes with school boards hiring early childhood educators and offering higher salaries, Giles said.

“There are pros and cons to working in child care centers versus school boards,” she said. “We offer very rewarding careers.

Giles said local vendors are hoping to attract workers to the job fair who may have left child care to start families or for other reasons in the past few years.

“It’s an opportunity for early childhood educators who haven’t been in the field for several years to come see what’s available,” she said.

Fitzpatrick said that in addition to filling current vacancies, one of the goals of the job fair is to “make people aware that this is a great career.”

Organizers said they hoped to attract as many qualified early childhood educators as possible, but added that there are also opportunities for others interested in working in the sector.

WorkPlace Group representatives will be present at the job fair to provide employment-related support and information on potential free training opportunities.

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