THERE were no sticky fingers or dirty nappies to change on Friday night as Gladstone's childcare workers glammed up to enjoy a night that was all about them.
The workers from 12 centres partied it up at the Gladstone Entertainment Convention Centre, while some of their peers were celebrated for furthering their education in the field with the help of the Here for Childcare initiative.
Rio Tinto Alcan has been providing financial incentives for the establishment of family day care and further education for workers to upskill.
Rio Tinto Alcan Community Fund Board company representative and QAL general manager Mike Dunstan said it was only when the board went out there and spoke to the centres, they realised what the needs were.
"With the rapid expansion in Gladstone we saw it was important to look after our employees but it's turned out to be much bigger than that," he said.
"This would be the most exciting of the things we're supporting.
"Tonight it's about celebrating their work. They don't get a lot of recognition."
Inclusion support facilitator Sue Newsome said with the support of Rio, the capacity of educators was improving.
She said the enthusiasm of the workers to learn was shown with the quality of educators who were making time to come to Gladstone.
"I work with all of these services, but tonight they connect on a social level to become one big community service rather than individual pockets," she said.
Stacey Booth was one childcare worker who pleased to let her hair down and enjoy a night to celebrate her industry.
She said parents recognised how hard the people looking after their children worked, but it wasn't often promoted in the wider community.
"Everyone thinks it's about playing with the kids and you definitely have to interact with them but they also need to be challenged to learn," she said.
Stacey is a childcare educator working at Bambini Boyne Island, who has experienced first-hand the opportunities that Rio Tinto Alcan's Here for Childcare initiative has offered.
"It's definitely been helpful. I've come out of (Tannum Sands State High) school with a full-time job and a Certificate III in children's services," she said.
"My work also encouraged me to finish Year 12 while studying and being part of the team."
Stacey is now furthering her studies in a Diploma in Children's Services through CQ TAFE, while working at Bambini.
Here for Childcare
- Family Day Care Educators: Jessica Mulhall, Karen Davies, Kerry Heathwood, Julie Wills, Sarah O'Halloran, Chandani Ariyarantne, Lea Fredricks, Cheryl Shaw, Toni Girard.
- New Educators: Paula Wilson, Natasha Benn, Rojchana Jones.
- Upskilling to Diploma: Carol Gould, Tonya Ghilotti, Stacey Booth, Amanda Dollery, Lyndell Harper, Jordan Polverino.
- 2014 B.Ed Early Childhood Scholarship Recipient: Amanda Thornton.