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If you want to build a strong nation then you have to build
a strong foundation in children
Industrial Design to Early Childhood Education isn't your typical
career path. But Ito Rivera isn't your typical TAFE NSW student.
Hailing from the Philippines, Ito began his career with a
qualification in Fine Arts, majoring in Industrial Design back in his
home country. But two years down this path, working long hours as a
project manager, constant high stress levels resulted in a diagnosis
of Arrhythmia, which is an irregular heartbeat.
"Then a colleague suggested that I work part-time in a
pre-school where her sister was working," said Ito. "I gave
it a go and enjoyed the career change. I worked as a pre-school
teacher for two years. Sadly, teachers are not paid well in the
Philippines so I had to go back to the marketing industry. Then I
found out about getting an international qualification through TAFE
NSW. In the Philippines, you can teach in a pre-school as long as you
have some kind of tertiary degree, regardless of the course. So I
grabbed this opportunity with the hope of getting a financially stable
job in an industry that I was passionate about."
Growing up in a culture that places a high value on closely knit
family ties, Ito already had a solid groundwork of informal child care
beneath his feet. At the tender age of eight, he'd been given the
responsibility of looking after his younger cousins, something that
helped to develop his nurturing and empathic skills and shaped his
character. Before too long, educating children and supporting their
development just seemed to become the natural thing for him to do.
Ito's study and career journey in Australia so far has been marked
with some memorable achievements. One of the high points for him was
being named TAFE Illawarra's international student of the year in
2014, an accolade that he was both proud and honoured to receive. Also
in 2014 he was asked to be a TAFE
As one of the few males in a female-dominated industry, Ito is happy
that he's in a position to provide a positive male role model for
young children, something that there's still a noticeable shortage of
after the mass exodus of men from the sector in the 1990s.
Now with graduation behind him, Ito works at Warilla Child Care
Centre in Wollongong as an education leader, but he still nurtures an
even more ambitious vision for the future. "I hope to one day
have the opportunity to become part of global humanitarian
organisations such as UNICEF or World Vision, caring for children
across the globe," he said. "Our Philippine national hero
Jose Rizal once said that the youth is the future of the nation and I
would always believe in that. If you want to build a strong nation
then you have to build a strong foundation in children."
Checkout of our many Early Childhood education courses such as
of Early Childhood Education and Care (Birth-5)