Think Childcare Limited was established to provide fair value childcare with the benefits of corporate ownership in the rapid growth and consolidation phase of the childcare sector in Australia. The Australian childcare industry has grown significantly in recent years, driven by:
- higher workforce participation, particularly by females
- steady population growth of children of childcare age
- government assistance to increase accessibility of childcare
- growth in real household disposable incomes
We believe that these demand factors are expected to drive further growth of the industry. Whilst there has been some consolidation of the industry over the last decade, the Australian childcare industry remains highly fragmented. As such, we believe that there remains sufficient scope in the market for another significant corporate operator with a focus on high quality education and care and operational excellence.
Think Childcare Limited’s strategy is to acquire and integrate childcare centres identified on the basis of acquisition criteria and optimise the performance of the centres that it owns and manages via:
- group compliance programs, taking away a significant administrative burden at the centre level
- empowerment of decision-makers at the regional/centre level
- localised marketing programs to maintain/increase occupancy
- controlling costs, including taking advantage of group buying opportunities
Think Childcare Limited will own, manage and operate long day childcare facilities for children between the ages of six weeks and six years old. The Company currently owns and manages over 78 centres across Australia.
A Little Of Our Heritage
In 2001, CEO, Mathew Edwards and 3 partners built two childcare centres in Melbourne. These centres were a baptism by fire. Experiencing great operational highs and great operational lows. In 2009 Mathew teamed up with another partner and acquired 12 loss making childcare centres out of receivership from the collapsed ABC Group. These centres now form the core of Think Childcare Limited ("Think").
After 8 years in the sector, Mathew realised that the traditional model of a ‘mum and dad’ childcare centre may work but it couldn’t be scaled up and maintain its performance and deliver the quality of consistent service he required as a parent. He also realised that the ‘big stick and the carrot’ management technique was all but done in business and never worked in a sector that was all about passion and focused on the educational outcomes for the children, not financial reward.
This realisation lead Mathew on a path to find an organisation that he could emulate, borrow their ideas, sadly no such organisation existed in Australia. He knew the heart and soul of the centres were his employees, Educators, Administrators, Centre Directors, Area Managers, Operations Managers…we call them all ‘Educators’. He also knew that the key to success was in empowerment of our Educators; it’s their passion, their love and their professionalism that makes the difference to the lives of parents and children alike.
Traditionally, it was his experience that dictatorial management of childcare centres led to less than empassioned Educators and resulted in less than inspired children as they entered the formal scholastic system. Mathew knew empowerment of the Educators would lead to a higher self-worth and a happier Educator would result. He set about finding a model and the support to help him realise his vision. He stumbled across a book called “Maverick” by Ricardo Semler. A book about a Brazilian company that took on the traditional hierarchy and found a new way – an inspiring way, a profitable, sustainable, energising way.
In 2012, Mathew and all 385 employees set about formulating a set of core values, they wrote, debated, argued with passion, and eventually, all agreed the core values. These core values are the foundation of our business.
Our core values are present in our policies, or lack of policies as may be, they underpin who we employ and who we let go. They set a level of respect in all communications and give us a constant reference point to measure our own actions against. We are not a policy driven business but a business guided by Core Values, ethics and a passion for the families we are privileged to work with .
Our Mission: ‘To change the world one Educator at a time’ is underway.
Happy staff give you happy children, happy children give you happy families and happy families pay you money happily, giving you happy shareholders.