Frequently Asked Questions (Ascend)

See below for answers to FAQs for our Ascend Program. You can also contact or call 02 6293 6220 for further questions.

Ascend Program Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Ascend Program?

The Ascend Program is Communities@Work’s industry-leading traineeship in child care and education to help you kickstart a career in Early Childhood Education and Care. It is a structured, on-the-job development program spanning 12-18 months (depending on the pace of completion).

Why a traineeship under the Ascend Program? 

  • The traineeship is offered by our Award-Winning Registered Training Organisation, The Centre of Professional Learning and Qualification (CPLE).
  • 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, even with Communities@Work’s Child Care and Education Centres.
  • You will be able to work and study full-time, earning while you learn with the 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.

Who is eligible?

The Ascend Program is a type of User-Choice Funded Traineeship, which means it is subsidised by the ACT Government (Skills Canberra).  This means that candidates who meet the following criteria only are eligible to access government funding and apply for the Ascend Program:

  • at least 18 years of age;
  • an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident OR a New Zealand Citizen who has lived in Australia for more than 6 months, OR a visa holder with work rights on a pathway to permanent residency and not excluded from participation in government-funded training (check list of eligible visas here).
  • able to pass a language, literacy and numeracy assessment;
  • not already holding other relevant qualifications in early childhood or education;
  • registered for ‘Working With Vulnerable People’, or able to register

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

What are you looking for in Ascend Program applicants?

We are looking for candidates who are:

  • passionate about being part of an elite team
  • driven by positive, creative energy
  • enthusiastic about pursuing or advancing a career in early childhood education and care
  • seeking the opportunity to be part of an organisation committed to excellence in service delivery
  • interested in working with children and families
  • committed to completing the 12-18 month program

The program would suit an applicant who is also:

  • friendly and sociable
  • a good team member
  • a good communicator, and likes working with people
  • conscientious and cooperative
  • enthusiastic about learning.

If that describes you, we encourage you to express your interest for our next intake.

What can I expect from the Ascend program?

In the Ascend program, students participate in a 12-18 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.

Ascend students are paid over the length of the program and need to be available to work and study full-time for 7.6 hours a day between 7:30 am and 6.00 pm. 

The student’s contribution to commence training is $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.

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.

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.

What is the Application Process for the Ascend Program?

STEP 1: Attend the Information Session & Sit for the Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) Assessment.

STEP 2: If you pass the LLN Assessment, you will be invited to attend an assessment centre where you will be required to visit one of our services to be assessed in your interactions with children.

STEP 3: If successful in an assessment centre, you will be invited to attend an interview with our People, Culture & Wellness (PCW) team.

STEP 4: If successful in your interview, you will be offered employment. If you accept the offer of employment, you will be required to enrol on a Cert III qualification with our RTO under the traineeship model.

STEP 5: Begin your employment with us (full-time 4-5 days a week), while also studying for your qualification (weekly classes).

Please note that attending the information session is mandatory to begin your application process. If you are unable to attend an information session and/or sit for the LLN Assessment, your application will not be progressed further for the program.


Submit Interest for Next Ascend Intake


What happens in the Ascend Information Session?

The session will provide you with valuable information on the Ascend Program – how to get a job in Early Childhood Education and Care when you have no qualifications in the sector, and how to earn while you learn (i.e. work and study at the same time) with Communities@Work. The information session will also give you a chance to ask any questions so you can make informed decisions regarding your options and career pathways.

Watch this space for details on our next information session when applications open for the next Ascend intake.


  • 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.

If I am not eligible to receive funding from the ACT Government, can I still apply? (Example, not an eligible visa holder)

Unfortunately, you will not be able to apply under the Ascend Program. However, you can enrol into a Certificate III qualification on a fee-for-service basis with our Registered Training Organisation, and get qualified as an educator. Approved applicants can also begin working in a Communities@Work’s Child Care and Education Centre 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.

Find out more about User-Choice Funded Traineeships, Susbidised Study and Fee-For-Service options to gain a nationally recognised qualification with our Centre of Professional Learning and Education (CPLE) here.

Who can I contact for more information?

Contact or call 02 6293 6220 for further questions.

You can also download the Communities@Work Ascend Program Handbook here.


Submit an Enquiry For Ascend Program

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