It looks like PORSE (owned by Evolve Education) is onto a real money-making winner with its nanny intern course.

According to its media release and website, young women (they’re invariably women) aged 17-25 can do PORSE’s 21-week Nanny Intern Programme, at absolutely NO COST. Such an amazing deal – how do they do it?

The nanny interns – often still children themselves, like 17-year-old Samantha-Jo Aitchison – work for free for 21 hours a week for 21 weeks. That’s 441 hours of free labour – I mean, “practical learning”.

During those 21 weeks, she’ll have one “theory session” a week. Two hours? Half a day? Who knows.  The only cost to the family of four children aged under five, where she is getting her “practical learning”, is $5 an hour to PORSE to cover “training costs”. That’s $2205 over 21 weeks for one training session a week.

PORSE will get other funding as well. There are three possible sources – as a “private training establishment” for the training it gives the intern; the standard ECE funding subsidy, of up $8.76 an hour per child; and funding from MSD’s Youth Employment Package of up to $5000.

At the end of the course, Samantha will have a National Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Care (Level 3). The same course at the Open Polytechnic would cost her $1450, but she would only need to volunteer (or work for actual money) in an ECE setting for four hours a week. She could also study fee-free with a number of providers under the Youth Guarantee Scheme.

With this qualification, the young nannies will be able to work anywhere in the PORSE network. However, according to NZQA, The National Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Care (Level 3) only “recognises basic introductory skills and knowledge involved in the education and care of infants, toddlers, and young children”.

In other words, it’s a starting point, barely the bronze standard in early childhood education training.  All kids deserve quality care and education from the beginning, whether they are in a centre or a home-based setting. The likes of Samantha also deserve more than indentured labour and a budget qualification. The only winner here is PORSE.

PORSE is part of the publicly listed company Evolve Education.