Professional Integration and Belonging of Immigrant-born Early Childcare Educators and Workers (ECEC) in Darwin, Northern Territory (NT) of Australia

By Kate Golebiowska and Alicia Boyle.

Published by The International Journal of Organizational Diversity

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Published online: May 2, 2014 Free Download

The Northern Territory of Australia has an ethnically diverse and highly mobile population—the latter reflected in a high workforce turnover. This paper reports on findings from the first-ever study of the demographic and economic characteristics of immigrant-born early childhood education and care workers in Darwin, in addition to their reasons for mobility. Motivations for this research include a lack of systematic knowledge about workers’ individual integration, lifetime mobility trajectories, experience in this diverse workplace, and lived practices of belonging in the Northern Territory. This research also emphasizes the greater professionalization in the early childhood education and care workforce. This study analyses official statistics and original interview data collected from a sample of immigrant-born early childhood education and care workers. The evidence reveals that, unlike some other workforces in the Northern Territory, they intend to remain and work long-term in this jurisdiction. This article examines the reasons behind these intentions, discusses approaches to maximize professional contribution to the care of young children, and suggests strategies that may assist in attracting more immigrant-born workers to this sector of the Northern Territory.

Keywords: Organizational Diversity, Immigrant-born, Workforce, Belonging

The International Journal of Organizational Diversity, Volume 13, Issue 2, May 2014, pp.1-17. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: May 2, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 279.964KB)).

Dr. Kate Golebiowska

Research Fellow, The Northern Institute Faculty of Law, Business, Education and Arts, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT, Australia

Kate Golebiowska is a research fellow at The Northern Institute at Charles Darwin University in Darwin. She has a PhD in public policy from the Australian National University (2007) and a master's degree in political science from the University of Warsaw, Poland (2000). Her location in Darwin has contributed to a regional focus of her work. Kate’s interests lie in socio-economic and demographic impacts of international migration on the host countries, immigrant integration, patterns of immigrant mobility, transnational immigrant links and comparative national legislative frameworks and governance of immigration. Kate has recently collaborated with colleagues from Canada and Europe on two comparative book projects on policies and trends of immigration to regions and immigrant adaptation to regional areas.

Alicia Boyle

Researcher, The Northern Institute, Faculty of Law, Business, Education and Arts, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT, Australia

Alicia Boyle has worked in VET/TAFE education and training for 28 years. She has been in Darwin with the Charles Darwin University since 1999 in both academic teaching and research positions. Alicia has taught across programs as diverse as tourism and hospitality, business, information technology, arts administration and community services. She was responsible for customising delivery and assessment content for remote Assistant Teachers and Para-Professionals working in remote primary schools for the Certificate III, IV and Diploma of Education Support and the Certificate II in Community Services. She is currently developing multimedia delivery materials for the Certificate II in Aged Care with a particular emphasis on explicit literacy and numeracy support. With a young child utilising the services of the ECEC sector in Darwin for the past six years, Alicia is also well aware of the day-to-day operations of a range of Centres. Alicia works extensively in applied research with key interests in education and industry development in regional and remote areas. She has particular interests in Aboriginal workforce development (and more generally as it relates to identified equity groups) and applications of new technologies to such workforce development.