We unpack in this article three things you need to know for your casual (or student) job search.
Are you a job seeker in search of a casual, temporary or part-time job? Are you a student looking for work while you study? Or maybe you are just someone searching for a change, a job with flexible hours? Either way, we have got you covered.
And what makes us an expert? Well, as Canberra’s largest community organisation and largest provider of education and care services, we have a pretty good number of employees working in casual, part-time and temporary roles (alongside a solid base of full-time/permanent employees).
In fact, our Out of School Hours Care (OSHC) services offering Before and After School Care, as well as School Holiday Programs, to school-aged children, across many locations in Canberra, employ many casual OSHC educators.
We recently sat down with Anita Senjic, the Senior Educational Leader for our OSHC services at Communities at Work, to tell us a little bit more about what to look for when searching for the perfect casual job.
And if these factors sound like something you would want in your employment opportunity, consider applying for a Casual Out of School Hours Care Educator role with us – it ticks all the boxes (and more)!
A Job with Flexible Hours
Flexibility around your existing commitments is a crucial factor to consider when engaging in a job search for casual roles. For instance, if you are a student, you want a job that can work around your study schedule. Jobs in retail or hospitality may prove to be an imperfect fit if you are having to work long hours or weekends, compromising on your classes or assignments. Or, if you are a young job seeker, diving straight in can be intimidating. You want to start out with a casual job that allows you to explore your interests and get a taste of the working environment.
Anita says, “If you’re looking for a flexible working environment, joining Communities at Work as an OSHC Casual Educator is a great opportunity for those who are starting to come into the working field, especially for some of those younger people who are looking for a first-time job and career, as a good starting point for them to engage in a working team environment, to get a lot of support, to engage in a flexible environment that allows you to continue with your studies, progress in your career path, and build a lot of team social communication skills, and work in a really exciting job.”
As part of your job search, look out for casual jobs that offer shift work. For instance, working in Out of School Hours Care means running the before and after school care programs and school holiday programs. So, this is a great fit for students looking to work just mornings or just afternoons (though you have the option to do both) to fit in with the study if you’re doing uni. Or, doing shift work can simply be beneficial as it gives you time to relax in the middle of the day to run those errands or catch up with family and friends.
So, make sure you consider flexible hours as part of your casual job search criteria!
Friendly and Supportive Work Environment
This aspect pretty much explains itself. You want to work in an environment full of friendly, dynamic and supportive team members. When searching for jobs, it is important to consider the kind of support system in place – both for your wellbeing and for your professional development. Particularly when it is your first job and you’re still finding your footing, a supportive team can make all the difference.
Anita says, “The fantastic thing about working in OSHC is that you’ve got a leadership team to support you. So, if you’re very new to the role, and probably have never worked with children before, the leadership team will guide you through the practices and processes. We have got senior educational leaders who support you with programming, and a supportive inclusion team who come in and support you with behaviour guidance. Then there is a range of program coordinators on site who you can go to for any questions or help.
Ultimately, OSHC is a fun, friendly environment where you get to connect with different people, learn about their learning styles, and even explore things that you have in common with other educators. In working with children, you also get to discover different hobbies, interests and strengths – giving the general working environment a very positive and friendly feel.”
Opportunity for skill-building and professional development
Now you may be considering a casual job as a temporary or interim arrangement around your existing commitments, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be something that helps you build your skills. It’s always great to walk away from a job with experience and some solid skills, no matter the type of role. And what’s more, there may be opportunities for career progression, growth and professional development if you take a liking to it. So, as part of your job search, don’t forget to factor in the type of skills you will be building as part of the role you’re applying for.
Anita says, “OSHC can be a great way to enhance your skills and build a professional working relationship with other people. So, even if you’re studying something completely different from Education or Teaching or Children’s Services, a role as an OSHC casual is a good opportunity to build your skills in teamwork, communication, adaptability, working independently, working within a school environment, and working with children – one or more of which will come in handy even if OSHC is a short-term opportunity and you change career paths later.”
And if OSHC or working with children happens to be something you want to carry on and build a career in, there are plenty of opportunities for growth. Most of our OSHC leadership team started off as casual educators. As you continue to work and progress in your career, from a casual educator, you can become a second-in-charge (2IC), a program coordinator, and even a senior program coordinator once you have a grasp on the service and operational requirements. There are also opportunities to move within Communities at Work, with it being such a large organisation with so many different program areas and teams.
Anita adds, “I’ve even supported and guided many casual OSHC educators and a few program coordinators who have progressed on their career journey with Communities at Work and have migrated to other parts of the organisation such as Finance or Marketing teams, and even Disability Programs.”
The bottom line is, don’t go for a casual job with your eyes closed, assuming it will be a short stint. You never know where you may end up, so consider the skill development, professional development and career growth opportunities that would come with the role (just in case)!
More on why you should consider a role in OSHC
If the fact that becoming an OSHC educator means you’re already checking off the three boxes of a job offering flexible hours, a friendly supportive team, and opportunities for professional and skill development, is not enough – here are two more reasons why an application for a job in Out of School Hours Care should be on the top of your pile as part of your job search:
Make a meaningful impact on a child’s life and enjoy a satisfying, rewarding, fulfilling role
If you love being around children, or the idea of making a difference in your community resonates with you, then OSHC is your chance to work while building positive relationships with children, supporting and guiding them and shaping their lives.
Anita says, “it can be very rewarding to see the children day in and out, building relationships with them, watching them progress as they grow older, experience different activities and achieve learning milestones. And to see some of them probably go through challenging times and come out on the other end, really happy, feeling supported, it’s a fulfilling feeling to have been a part of that journey. So many educators come and tell me that this job makes them feel really valued and inspired to keep going with the work they’re doing.”
Help create and engage in a fun yet educational experiences
Being an OSHC educator means delivering exciting programs in an engaging environment, supporting learning experiences, and providing fun opportunities to children all the while developing life skills.
Anita says, “It might sound a little daunting to an educator that we have an educational program that we provided to children. But when you break it down, it’s just a bunch of fun and exciting activities for the children that have a little bit of a twist to incorporate learning. And we encourage our educators to be really involved in that process of building on their own interests and hobbies by adopting a strengths-based approach.
For example, if you’re a sporty person and coach basketball on the weekends, we would love to have you as part of our OSHC team because then you can engage the children in those skills. And you don’t have to be fantastic at something – if you’re interested in, for example, performing arts, have fun organising a musical with the children and it doesn’t have to be perfect!”
“At the end of the day, if you choose a role as an OSHC educator during your job search for a flexible, casual, temporary or student job, don’t think that your knowledge, hobbies, interests or career path doesn’t align with children’s services. It certainly does – and there’s a way that our fantastic OSHC team can show you how to integrate that with your role.”
You can find out more about our OSHC services here.
Bonus Perks of working with Communities at Work
Make a difference and change lives in the Canberra community as part of Canberra’s largest community organisation – working in our OSHC services also means collaborating with the rest of the organisation on community building projects and supporting your local community.
Grow your career with professional development, training and mentoring with the 3-time winner of the Large Employer of the Year award at the ACT Training Awards – there are so many training and learning opportunities with Communities at Work’s own Registered Training Organisation (The Centre of Professional Learning and Education) where educators are even paid for study sessions and can attend subsidised professional development sessions on a range of issues, and not just limited to children’s services.
- Access 95% discount on child care and education fees (gap fee) for child/ren enrolled in our early education and care, out of school hours care, and school holiday programs (If applicable to you).
- Flexibility when you need it with options for study leave, leave concessions, paid parental leave, and more.
- Enjoy healthy living with our active lifestyle & healthy activity programs and reimbursements (including remedial massages, annual flu vaccination and more).
- Receive guidance and support for mental health through our Employee Assistance Program.
So, what’s left to say? Find out more and apply now for a role as a Casual Out of School Hours Care (OSHC) Educator with us today on our careers page (click here).
If you’re not yet ready to take the next step in your job search, you can always come back and submit a Get in Touch (if you don’t see a job ad on our careers page for an OSHC-Casual role) in future whenever you want to explore this option. We’re always on the lookout for passionate jobseekers or uni students to join our team as a Casual Out of School Hours Care (OSHC) educator. No formal qualifications or experience are necessary to apply!