Australia is currently witnessing considerable change in conceptualisation of the role of child care. This is a response to the strong evidence from developmental science that demonstrates the lifelong impact of early experiences. The recent commitment made by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) (Communiqué, December 2009a) to improved qualifications and quality of those working in child care is a manifestation of this shift and highlights the importance of the childcare workforce. This study focused on the considerations of a third year cohort of B.Ed (EC) pre-service teachers (n = 55), about entering the childcare workforce. It examines their willingness to work in child care and identifies barriers and incentives for so doing. Our results indicate that, although attitudes to maternal work and child care were largely positive, few would prefer to work in child care under the current conditions. Key barriers were the pay and work conditions, particularly as they compare to other forms of potential employment. Incentives were the opportunity for leadership, creativity and a commitment to advocate for the rights of children. Those more willing to consider work in child care were distinguished from those less willing by altruism—foregoing personal gain to advocate for improved quality as a child’s right
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