careforkids
Industry Profile:
Evolve Education's Rosanne Graham
As a part of our monthly newsletter for early childhood education and care providers we are running a series of profiles on leaders in the early childhood sector designed to further educate, inform and inspire our readers.

This week we are proud to introduce you to the CEO for Evolve Education Rosanne Graham. Evolve Education, which operates 128 centres across the country, was recently names NZ's most trusted Kindergarten Centre operator in the 2019 Reader's Digest Trusted Brands awards

Can you please explain your role and responsibilities at EEG?

I was appointed CEO for Evolve Education Group in July last year and am responsible for setting the Vision and Values for our organisation, so that we all know what we are aiming to achieve and how we will operate. It's my job to ensure we deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders – and that includes our children, families, staff, the Ministry of Education and our shareholders.

What are the primary objectives/goals of EEG within the NZ child care sector?

Our Vision is: Every staff member excelling so that every child fulfils their potential.

This creates a very clear focus for our organisation. We need to invest in, recognise and reward our talented staff so that they are equipped and motivated to deliver the best possible service to our children and families.

How are you working to achieve those goals?

At Evolve, we nurture our people to be the best. Over the past year we have recruited a large number of talented people into the organisation to better support our dedicated teaching staff. We are just at the start of this journey, but our goal is to have all Evolve staff – and ultimately the wider industry – consider us to be the employer of choice within ECE.

What are your biggest challenges now?

Like everyone in this sector, we are struggling with the teacher shortage. This means we need to do a better job of communicating to our young people how vitally important, rewarding and fulfilling a career in ECE can be.

What do you anticipate those challenges will be in the future?

Hopefully as a sector, and in partnership with government, we can address the teacher shortage issue. However, there is no quick fix, and it will take some time for this issue to be resolved. In the meantime, the need for high quality early childhood education will continue to increase, as we see more and more families with both parents in the workforce. With increasing demand comes increased opportunity, making ECE an excellent career choice.

Fortunately, unlike some sectors, we are not facing change or disruption from technology, other than in the way we teach children certain things.

What are the biggest challenges facing the early childhood education and care industry right now?

A key issue for the government to consider is ensuring the level of funding to the sector keeps pace with rising costs and teacher wages.

How can your organisation help child care professionals do their jobs?

Evolve Education Group is highly focused on putting in place the necessary support structure to enable teachers to excel at their jobs. This support takes many different forms – from appointing capable managers who can lighten the load and provide helpful guidance, through to providing ongoing high-quality professional development for our managers and teachers. We also invest strongly in facilities that support an exceptional learning environment, and resources that are stimulating and relevant to the children and communities that we serve.

Why has early childhood education become such a hot topic in NZ over the last few years?

Research has proven that quality early childhood education is absolutely vital to setting individuals up for success in later life. And with more parents working, and an increasing number of children attending early learning centres, it's a topic that has generated great interest nationwide. This is a good thing! In my opinion, any sector that is dealing with the more vulnerable members of our community, such as children, should be a focus at a national level.

How is the NZ early childhood sector changing?

Children are spending more hours each week in early learning centres than ever before – and from a younger age. That's why it's not only essential that the sector provides the highest possible quality of education and care, but also that teachers are recognised and rewarded for their invaluable contribution.

How should the early childhood sector adapt and evolve to meet the challenge of these changes?

It all comes back to our teachers. We must continue to invest in their development and provide them with strong and rewarding career opportunities, so that they are not just attracted to the sector, but they also choose to stay in it.
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