Industry profile: Brent Stokes

Published on Tuesday, 02 March 2021
Last updated on Wednesday, 08 December 2021

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The Scholars Group has just appointed Brent Stokes as General Manager, as he finishes his position as CEO of the Australian Childcare Alliance Queensland.

We spoke to Brent about his professional experiences in early education and what he views as the major challenges facing the Australian early education sector:

Please tell us about your professional background and career experience, how did you make it to the early childhood sector?

When I finished school, I studied Hospitality Management. My career led me to several great opportunities to work within International Hotel Brands both here in Australia and overseas. My last position was Director of Sales, Marketing and Revenue Management for the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

At that time, my mother owned the freehold for an early learning service in regional Queensland. I found early learning exciting and was inquisitive about how boundaries could be pushed to improve the offering for children and early childhood educators.

In 2006 we purchased and operated our first service, quickly expanding to two a year and a half later and ultimately four services from 2009 until late 2016 when we sold following the birth of my daughter Sloane.

In hindsight, I should have had Scholars Consulting manage my services then and never sold but then I wouldn’t be here today.

You recently started a new role with The Scholars Group; please tell us about it? 

I am biased but this is one of the best and unexpected opportunities that I been involved in. Last year following some big changes to the sector with the introduction of the Child Care Subsidy in 2018 and COVID-19, I wanted to explore operating my own services again.

I sadly resigned from my position as CEO for Australian Childcare Alliance Queensland, a position that I had enjoyed for 4 years. I continue however as a volunteer with the management committee, this is where I had the experience of working with Jae Fraser.

Getting the opportunity to “look behind the curtain” as the GM of Scholars Consulting at The Scholars Group has reinforced my belief and understanding of what I believe to be the best early learning management organisation. It is a real team effort focusing on quality outcomes for the children, our people - early childhood educators/teachers while delivering results for our clients, the Approved Providers.  

What do you hope to achieve in this role? 

This is interesting as I am joining an existing highly motivated and successful team therefore, I am quickly moving from understanding to support, guidance and growth. I trust that I will continue the journey with passion and attention to detail.

Please describe some of the challenges and opportunities for early childhood that you see ahead? 

The silver lining of COVID-19 is the increased awareness, appreciation and understanding of the role the ECEC sector plays in workforce participation. At the same time, never has it been more important to celebrate the evidence-based positive and important long-term outcomes for those children attending high-quality early childhood education and care and our essential workforce.

In my opinion, the greatest challenge currently facing the sector is locating quality, early childhood educators and teachers, this is only being exacerbated by the increased supply of early learning services. 

You can learn more about The Scholars Group here.

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