Newman resident and mother of three Catherine Hoxha, is experiencing the challenges of Newman’s childcare shortage first hand.
Waitlisted for several day care centres in town, Catherine has been relying on the support of her in-laws and husband to manage being a working parent.
She said her family was seriously considering leaving Newman because of how hard it was to find permanent childcare.
The launch of the BHP Family Friendly Flexible Work Centre and expanded crèche service next door at the Newman Neighbourhood Centre has significantly alleviated these pressures, providing emergency/adhoc care options which allows Catherine to work knowing her children are being well looked after.
“Working fulltime at BHP and raising three small children can be a logistical challenge, so having access to the flex centre has really been a life saver for me,” Catherine said.
“We love Newman, and choose to live here because we enjoy the lifestyle and the jobs we have.
“The problem is, a lot people like us have no family here, so there isn't much support at home when it comes to looking after the kids.
“Not having access to childcare in Newman was really stressing me out, so it’s great to see our leaders take this issue seriously and come up with such a practical solution so quickly.”
Childcare in Newman is an issue BHP is working to address together with the Shire of East Pilbara, and the Family Friendly Flex Centre is one of the Company’s initiatives that has been fast tracked to offer more work flexibility for residential employees.
The centre has family friendly offices with dual monitors and laptop docking stations next to private kids play areas, a dedicated meeting space with web conference facilities, an open plan work space as well as a kitchen and laundry area.
Since opening in June, the flex centre has been accessed over 140 times with over 80 bookings in the crèche.
“Because of the flex centre, I don’t need to wear PPE to work, I can take my children into the office with me, or I can leave them at the crèche next door while I have a meeting.
“I usually have one or up to all three of my children at the crèche during the day, depending on what I have on.
“And the great thing about our flex centre is, it’s not just for parents. Anyone from BHP can use it. So I’m really trying to spread the word and tell everyone we have this great new facility in town.”