Welcome to a new series of interviews with the movers and shakers of the child care industry. This series hopes to connect principals, nannies and operatives in child care reform to one another. It also aims to illuminate where the industry of child care is heading, in terms of trends and statistics. (If you would like to be interviewed for this series please contact me on this website.)
To kick off the series it’s my personal pleasure to introduce Louise Dunham the managing director of Australian nanny agency Placement Solutions.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am the middle child of an ex army officer (New Zealand) who saw active service in Egypt, Italy and Israel during WW 2 and a Tasmanian banker descended from a long line of dairy farmers and apple growers. My hometown is a town of 17,000 people on the North west coast of Tasmania an area famed for its produce and the cleanest air in the world. It is near the Tarkine wilderness area.
I left Tasmania for university in 1972 and gained my degree in Melbourne. From there I became a high school teacher of English and Australian history and then moved into adult and Community Education. I am a mother of two grown daughters and have a one year old grandson who I granny nanny on Mondays.
Where do you live?
Northcote, Melbourne a city of 5 million people. Northcote is an inner city hipster kind of suburb. Great coffee. I am still trying to grow a beard to fit in.
What do you do?
I am the CEO of Placement Solutions , a labour hire firm and recruitment company; Just Family Payroll a payroll company for domestic staff and Nurture Training College a Registered training organization. I set up my first company in 1988 which has evolved into Placement Solutions. With all three companies the aim is keep children we care for safe, and respect and support our staff by paying them legally and providing on going training.
Why do you love what you do?
I love helping families get out the door, feeling secure knowing that they have provided the best care for their children by employing happy and legally employed nannies. I am excited about improving the nanny sector so that all families have the opportunity to make legal, educated choices and all nannies feel supported and confident in their abilities.
What’s unique about what you do?
Unfortunately, we are the only agency accredited with Childwise as a child safe organization. We run compulsory Speak Up training for all staff. We also run many short courses and two year Diploma training in childcare. Everything we do dovetails into having a trained professional workforce of nannies
Can you comment on the recent tragedy in Australia involving an unlicensed nanny and the coma of two infants?
Firstly there is no such thing as a licensed nanny in Australia. The only professional agencies are those who are government approved within the In home childcare scheme and Nanny Pilot. Even then there are discrepancies as to how nannies are paid many being paid erroneously as independent contractors.
What’s ahead for Placement Solutions and child care in Australia?
For us melding our three companies, tailoring the federal childcare diploma to nannying and continuing to work in with the ATO to ensure nannies are paid their legal entitlements.
Find out more about Placement Solutions here: