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HEARTS AND MINDS: TAFE NSW graduate Kristen Harford credits TAFE NSW with helping her secure a dream job as facilitator of the Schools as Communities Centre at Bomaderry Public School.
A mum-of-four with a passion for early childhood education has credited TAFE NSW with helping her impact the lives of hundreds of Nowra children.
Kristen Harford, 38, has been the facilitator of the Schools as Communities Centre at Bomaderry Public School for nearly two years, a centre supporting local families to enhance the early learning of children aged up to eight years old.
She said it was her training at TAFE NSW Nowra, which included qualifications in education support, business administration and early childhood education, which armed her with the practical skills and experience to thrive in the role.
Mrs Harford, a proud Yuin woman, discovered her love of helping children learn while acting as a parent volunteer at Bomaderry Public in 2015.
Eager to re-enter the workforce, she enrolled in a Certificate III in Education Support and Certificate III in Business Administration after securing a role at the school as Student Learning Support Officer, completed a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care.
“My time as a volunteer at Bomaderry really inspired me to go back and get more formal qualifications,” Mrs Harford said. “My job now is so rewarding and it’s amazing to go home each day knowing you’ve helped a child progress.”
Mrs Harford was acknowledged for her commitment to learning by being awarded a prestigious Gili Award in 2016. She was appointed as facilitator of the Schools as Communities Centre in mid-2019.
“It really is an amazing job and I wake up each morning so happy I’m going to work,” she said. “I love being able to create an inclusive and welcoming space for our local families and to assist in any support they may need regardless how small.
“I literally would not have this position now if it wasn’t for TAFE NSW.
“The teachers were incredibly supportive and they’re not just boring courses where you look at Powerpoints all day; they’re very animated, hands on and fun.”
TAFE NSW Nowra teacher Nerelye Ball said Mrs Harford was a shining example of how TAFE NSW prepared graduates to excel in their chosen industry.
“I witnessed the transformation of Kristen from a shy and reserved young woman to a confident, proud, educated and professional Aboriginal woman,” Ms Ball said. “She’s a great example of how students are able to get the skills for the job they want.”
To find out more about studying at TAFE NSW Nowra, phone 13 16 01 or visit www.tafensw.edu.au
Media contact: Daniel Johns, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist