Traineeship in Early Childhood Education and Care

Communities at Work Ascend Program launch

About Our Paid Traineeship

Our Paid Traineeship in Child Care and Education is for you if you are in Canberra, and are ready to make a difference in the lives of young children and their families. Whether you are commencing a career or are making a career change, the traineeship program is the first step in a rewarding career as a qualified childcare educator.

As an early childhood educator-in-training with our structured, on-the-job development program, you will be studying a CHC30121 Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care qualification while working in one of our Child Care and Education Centres – paid full-time over 18 months.

Information Sessions


Several times a year we hold information sessions to give you a chance to ask any questions so you can make informed decisions regarding your options and career pathways.

Next information session:

Date and time: yet to be confirmed
Location: Denman Village Community Centre.


To receive an invitation for our next information session – Apply Here



  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be an Australian citizen, permanent resident, New Zealand passport holder resident (for more than 6 months), or a visa holder eligible for government funding(click here to see a list of eligible visas). 
  • be available for full-time paid employment at 38 hours per week (7.6-hour full shifts per day).
  • attend a mandatory Information Session, and attempt and pass the Language, Literacy & Numeracy (LLN) Assessment.

You may apply any time throughout the year.  please sign up to our Mailing list to stay informed of opportunities. 

For more information about traineeship opportunities with Communities at Work in Early Childhood  Education and Care, please contact our Registered Training Organisation (RTO 88148), The Centre of Professional Learning and Education, at


Important Information about Training Program

Program structure: work in our children’s services 4 days a week (7.6 hours) and attend an Ascend class 1 day a week (7.6 hours). All five days are paid. Since you are being offered paid time to attend the weekly face-to-face classes, attendance is compulsory. Alongside the face-to-face weekly classes, you will be expected to complete much of your study using the online learning management system used by our CPLE team (Canvas). 


Study Fees: Since this is a traineeship, you will not be paying the full fees of studying the Cert III qualification, but only the administration cost of A$400. As an employed trainee, you will also have the option to pay with a payment plan or payroll deduction.


Eligible visa: you need Australian citizenship, permanent residency or an eligible visa to join us as an Ascend Program trainee since this traineeship comes from the ACT Government’s Skills Canberra funding. Check out the list of eligible visas.


Upon completion of the 18-month Ascend program, most of our trainees secure permanent, ongoing full-time employment within Communities at Work’s children’s services, including the option to study for a Diploma for further career progression (while continuing to work).


Ascend Program Resources




If you’re interested in studying a Certificate III qualification and want to explore training options outside of the Ascend Program, please submit an enquiry with our CPLE team using the button below to discuss.


Submit an Enquiry


Frequently Asked Questions

To be eligible for the program, you must: 

  • Be at least 18 years of age 
  • Be an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or New Zealand passport holder resident for more than 6 months, or an eligible visa holder (click here to see a list of eligible visas).
  • be available for full-time paid employment at 38 hours per week (7.6-hour full shifts per day). Allocated shifts range between 7 am and 6 pm on Mondays to Fridays.
  • have access to a digital device such as a computer/laptop with webcam capabilities, an internet connection, and an active email account.
  • successfully pass the language, literacy and numeracy skills assessment (conducted by CPLE during the mandatory Information Session held for shortlisted applicants).
  • be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to commencement in the Ascend Program.
  • apply for and/or maintain a Working with Vulnerable People Check (WWVP) before acceptance into the program.

We encourage candidates who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander to apply. 

Applications are open throughout the year for our training program.

The recruitment process takes about 2 months including information sessions, assessments, centre visits, contract reviews, interviews and more. 

  • Shortlisted candidates will be invited by our People team via email to attend a face-to-face information session held over a 3-hour period. Attending the Information Session is mandatory to progress your application.
  • During the Information session, you will be offered the opportunity to attempt the Language, Literacy & Numeracy (LLN) assessment, if you are interest in progressing your application.
  • If you pass the LLN, you will be invited to visit one or more of Communities at Work’s 12 early learning services (Assessment Centre). You will be observed in an early learning environment with children by our Recruitment (People, Culture and Wellness) team. The assessment centres also provide you with an opportunity to explore an early learning environment and ask further questions about the program.
  • If you demonstrate appropriate practices during the assessment centre, and are still interested to become an eductaor, you will be offered a face-to-face job interview. This interview will include members from the People/Recruitment team, our CPLE team, and an Early Learning Centre Manager from Communities at Work.
  • If you are successful in the interview, you will be offered a position and 12-month contract as an Ascend Trainee with the potential to switch to an ongoing/permanent role with Communities at Work on completion of your study.
  • You will be allocated a workplace location by the People team, while the CPLE team will activate your ACT Training contract as the VET provider.

Download our Ascend Program Handbook for details (pdf download).

Visit this link to begin your application.

All Ascend Program trainees must begin actively studying the qualification at the commencement of their employment.

The CHC30121 Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care qualification covers the fundamentals of childhood development and educating young children. You will gain the skills and expertise to provide quality education for children in a range of environments.

Completion of this qualification is the minimum requirement to work in the early childhood education sector. You will develop skills in:

  • Effective interaction and communication with children
  • Appropriate care for babies, toddlers and children
  • Nutrition
  • First aid, health and safety
  • Working legally and ethically with children
  • Working with children and families with diverse needs

This sector-focused qualification will prepare you for a rewarding career in children’s services.

Please visit our CHC30121 Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care qualification page for more information about the qualification. 

You must pass the Language, Literacy & Numeracy (LLN) assessment to progress your application for the Ascend Program. This is a pre-training written assessment and interview that identifies your LLN skill levels in each area.

Through this process, it must be determined that you hold an ACSF* Level 3 in Learning, Reading, Writing, Oral Communication, and Numeracy to hold the foundation skills applicable and be offered enrolment into this program.

In case it is found that you do not hold the skills required to the level needed, referrals for support will be offered to you. Depending on the skill levels determined, it may be necessary for engagement with these supports prior to enrolment or alternatively engagement with them alongside the delivery of this program. Options will be discussed with you after the results of the LLN assessment have been finalised by the CPLE team.

*The Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF) is a tool that assists both specialist and non-specialist English language, literacy and numeracy practitioners describe an individual’s performance in the five core skills of learning, reading, writing, oral communication and numeracy.

Results of the LLN are provided to potential candidates within 3 days of completion with results emailed to them via the allocated email address. To be successful to move through to the next stage of the recruitment/enrolment process, potential candidates must hold an ACSF Level 3 in reading, writing, oral communication and literacy.

The aim of the Ascend Program is to arm you with the skills, experience and qualification you need to become an educator in the early childhood sector. So, no prior experience is necessary to apply for the program. We are looking for candidates who have:

  • Passion for working with children
  • Enthusiasm for learning
  • A motivated and enthusiastic approach
  • Excellent communication skills (both spoken and written)
  • Excellent work ethic and a professional attitude
  • Willingness to travel to several locations across Canberra
  • ‘Working With Vulnerable People’ registration, or willingness to obtain.

You will be paid for all 5 days, 7.6 hours per day at the rate of A$24 per hour.

The role will aid trainees to develop essential skills required to be a qualified early childhood educator, through both the study component of the program (full-time face-to-face classes one day a week) and the work component of the program (working in an Early Education & Care centre for the remaining 4 days of the week).

After successful completion of the program, you will receive an increase in pay if you are successful in securing ongoing employment as a permanent educator with Communities at Work.

  • Join an inclusive and friendly workplace, where people are at the heart of everything.
  • Earn while you learn – gain a qualification while engaged in paid employment.
  • Make a difference and change lives in the Canberra community as part of Canberra’s largest community organisation.
  • Get a 95% discount on gap fees for children enrolled in our Early Education and Care or Out of School Hours Care services (after completing 6 months of probation).
  • Grow your career with professional development, training and mentoring, sponsored study options, career progression pathways and more.
  • Increase your take-home pay! Because Communities at Work has charity status, you may be able to salary package up to $15,900 and increase your take-home pay by thousands of dollars per year. Additionally, you may be able to package up to $2,650 in meal entertainment.
  • Receive guidance and support for mental health through our Employee Assistance Program.
  • Enjoy flexibility when you need it with options for study leave, leave concessions, paid parental leave and more.
  • Enjoy healthy living with our active lifestyle and healthy activity programs and reimbursements (including remedial massages, annual flu vaccination, and more).
  • Graduate with a CHC30121 Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care qualification, a must to get jobs in the lucrative and growing early learning sector without having to pay fees, with options to study a Diploma after completion, and/or secure permanent ongoing employment with Communities at Work.
  • The traineeship is offered by our award-winning Centre of Professional Learning and Qualification (CPLE), the three-time winner at the ACT Training Awards 2019, 2020 & 2021.
  • Early education and care is a growing employment sector, with plenty of job opportunities.
  • There is great career progression in the sector for those who are driven to take the next step. You can progress to team leader positions, early childhood teacher roles, and leadership and management roles, and have the potential to be offered a permanent full-time position within Communities at Work’s Early Education and Care Centres following the completion of the program.
  • You will be able to obtain a full-time income and gain valuable work experience while studying your qualification within the Ascend program.
  • You will receive on-the-job mentoring from experienced and qualified educators at our Child Care & Education Centres, and also receive study support and formal training with our skilled trainers during classes with our CPLE team.

As an Ascend Program trainee educator, you will:

  • Work in one of our child care and education centres 4 days a week (full time)
  • Attend classes 1 day a week (paid for the full day)
  • Be supervised on the floor while caring for children at the service
  • Assist in delivering high-quality early education and care to children at the service
  • Apply theoretical concepts from the qualification study to the work at the centre

In the Ascend program, students participate in a 12-15 month program as part of a group of future educators who undertake a bespoke learning experience.

It is a fantastic opportunity to learn theoretical knowledge and concepts alongside gaining valuable practical experience in our early childhood education and care centres, allowing you to learn from experienced educators, teachers and mentors.

Upon successful completion of the program, graduates gain a nationally recognised qualification (CHC30121 Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care), essential to work in the early learning sector, and a potential offer to begin a successful, long-lasting career educating the next generation of leaders and influencers with Communities at Work.

If you are invited to the Ascend Program Information Session, you will need to bring the following documents with you:

  • Your ID Documents for eligibility assessment such as drivers licence, birth certificate, green Medicare card, Passport
  • Working with Vulnerable People card (or proof of having applied for a WWVP card
  • Visa/Work rights documentation (if applicable)


We will discuss your eligibility to enrol into our Ascend Program (earn while you learn), and inform you of what the program entails. You will find out more about completing the steps required to begin your employment with the Ascend Intake and have the opportunity to sit for your LLN Assessment if you’re interested in applying for the program.

For further details, please visit the Ascend Program Information Session page.

Since this is a traineeship, you will not be paying the full fees of studying the qualification, but only the administration cost of A$400.
Students can either pay this upfront or elect to pay it over a number of weeks via a payment plan or payroll deduction. A fee concession is also available to eligible trainees if they hold a valid concession card. This is because our Ascend Program is a type of user-choice funded traineeship. The purpose of the program is to arm interested individuals with a qualification while they also get the opportunity to gain paid work experience as Early Childhood Educator Trainees.

Upon completion of the qualification, applicants may be eligible for a $300 government completion bonus as well. Payment of incentives and personal benefits is subject to Australian Apprentices satisfying eligibility criteria as set out in the ACT Standard Compliance Guide for Australian Apprenticeships Training. The amount quoted is to be used as a guide only.

Unfortunately, you will not be able to apply for the program if you’re not an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or an eligible visa holder (see here for a list of eligible visas), and thus not eligible to earn while you learn.

However, if you are interested, you can enrol into a Certificate III qualification on a fee-for-service basis with CPLE and get qualified as an educator. Approved applicants can also begin working in Communities at Work’s Child Care and Education Centres while working towards their qualification with our RTO (depending on work rights and visa conditions). Educators are required to be actively engaged in working towards their qualification within three months of beginning work.

Visit this page for details: User-Choice Funded Traineeships, Subsidised Study and Fee-For-Service options.

Our Centre of Professional Learning and Education (CPLE) team will deliver the ‘qualification’ component of the Ascend Program. As the three-time proud winner of the Large Employer of the Year Award at the ACT Training Awards 2019, 2020 and 2021, we will ensure you receive the best training that has been developed to meet sector requirements, both with your study of the qualification and while working in the service, with supportive, passionate, and skilled trainers, mentors and management.

For questions related to the study component of the program, email or call 6293 6220 to find out more about the traineeship.

For questions related to the employment component, please contact the People team on or 6293 6545. 

Communities at Work is Canberra’s largest not-for-profit community organisation, working with our community to build a resilient, sustainable, and socially inclusive community. With over 40 years of experience in the ACT and Capital Region, we provide a wide range of high-quality early education and care services and community services that support positive educational outcomes, assist in alleviating hardship, enhance the quality of life and lead to positive social change.

Our Ascend Program trainees work across our Child Care and Education Centres and study with our award-winning Centre of Professional Learning and Education (CPLE), our very own Vocational Education and Training provider.

You will be guided every step of the way with your qualification and mentored in-service to be the best educator you can be, with a range of career progression opportunities available within the organisation upon completion of the training program!

Scroll To Top