Affinity named National Finalist in Australian Training Awards

Affinity Education Group has been announced as a national finalist in the 2018 Australian Training Awards, for the Australian Apprenticeships – Employer Award category.

The awards, run by the Australian Government recognise excellence in training opportunities for employees. Nomination as a national finalist positions Affinity as a leader in workplace and industry development.  

Linda Carroll, Head of People and Culture at Affinity Education Group said the recognition by the Australian Government was a credit to Affinity’s company mission: to inspire and nurture individuals to reach their full potential.

“Affinity’s apprenticeship and training programs were established due to our confidence in our people, that given the right opportunities and support, they will become industry leaders for early childhood education,” Ms Carroll said.
“In less than two years, our programs have delivered these opportunities and produced outstanding results in terms of staff engagement, retention, productivity, and career development for our educators, early childhood teachers and centre-based managers across Australia,” she said.

In January 2017, Affinity Education Group established the Affinity Learning Academy (ALA), an industry-first collaboration committed to delivering workplace-based accredited training, professional development. The ALA operates an inclusive development strategy offering clear career pathways to Affinity employees.

“The ALA is structured around a ‘blended learning’ approach, offering our employees a combination of online learning, centre-based learning and access to industry experts who deliver on-the-job coaching and assessment,” Ms Carroll said.
Rosalia Satler from A Step Ahead Early Learning Clifton Beach completes online training through the Affinity Learning Academy in partnership with Industry Graduates. 
The latter consists of 11 dedicated ALA staff, who meet up with apprentices and trainees at their child care centre monthly to provide face to face support through each program.
“This personal, and workplace-based application of knowledge and skills, delivered at the conscious expense of cost-effectiveness, has proven crucial to the success of our programs, increasing employee engagement, learning and confidence as they progress,” Ms Carroll said.

The Affinity Learning Academy partners with 10 VET providers nationally, led by Industry Graduates, to deliver Certificate to Diploma levels of qualifications. The ALA is also expanding operations to include a pre-employment program designed to ensure individuals have the optimal tools for employability in the child care industry.

The structure has enabled many staff to complete nationally accredited qualifications while engaging in full-time, part-time or casual work. Each ALA program leads to a further career pathway opportunity, and the ALA is also affiliated with undergraduate and postgraduate courses with higher education providers.
Riverstone Rise Early Learning Centre Manager Rebecca Webb rewards Affinity Learning Academy student Chloe Liddle as 'student of the month'.

“Our employees are given the education and foundation to deliver their primary role – education and care of children aged five years and under – along with Affinity’s established customer promise to ‘deliver outstanding professionalism’, Ms Carroll said.

The Affinity Learning Academy currently has more than 300 active apprentices and trainees completing workplace-based training and professional development opportunities along with enrolments in the following programs:
  • Lifelong Learning Program for educators
  • Accredited Learning Program for educators
  • Shining Stars Development Program for outstanding employees in any centre-based role
  • Affinity Way Leadership Program for Centre Managers and Assistant Centre Managers
  • Early Childhood Teacher ‘Connect’ Program for teachers (in conjunction with Griffith University)
  • Best Area Manager Development Program
  • Business and Leadership Program
Affinity Learning Academy participants and graduates surveyed to date have indicated the programs have enabled them to:
  • Become more empowered in their personal development
  • Identify and achieve career goals
  • Identify and correct gaps in their skills and knowledge
  • Feel more confident and supported by mentors
  • Explore new career pathways
Assisting Educator Kodie Schular from Early Learning Centre Gympie, who recently completed her Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care while working full time. 
To date, Affinity has delivered more than 34,000 online training courses and 3,287 Leadership Programs. More than 3000 employees are members of an online social network dedicated to recognition, reward, information and inspiration of early childhood educators and teachers across the company’s 167 centre locations nationally.

“At Affinity, our Learning Academy, company culture and future employment and training strategy is focused on delivering outstanding professionalism in early childhood education and care, and we are pleased to receive government acknowledgement that we have our team on the right pathway to achieve this,” Ms Carroll said.

The Australian Training Awards finalists will be announced on November 15, 2018.

Fast Facts:
  • Affinity Education Group owns and operates 167 Lifelong Learning Centres nationally.
  • Brands including Papilio Early Learning, Milestones Early Learning Centres and Aussie Kindies.
  • These centres represent close to 14,000 licenced child care places nationally.
  • Affinity currently employs more than 3,000 staff, including apprentices, trainees, educators, early childhood teachers, and a variety of management, operational and administration roles.
  • Affinity’s centralised People and Culture team manages recruitment, training and continued professional development for its national team.