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11 October 2021
TAFE NSW has made it possible for busy Nelson Bay mum Nikki Cochrane to realise her dream of working with children who require extra help to learn – even before she’s achieved her qualification.
The former childcare worker began studying a Certificate III in Education Support in February this year and as a course requirement, completed a work placement at the Anna Bay Primary School.
The school offered her a part-time job supporting children’s learning as soon as she finished the placement. She worked there for several months before transferring to the nearby Tomaree High School as a Student Learning Support Officer. On her day off, she often still works casually at the primary school.
Juggling work, study and being a mum to three young children means life is very busy for the 33-year-old.
However, she says the flexibility and support offered by her TAFE teachers has meant she’s been able to fit study needs into her busy life and is looking forward to graduating in a few weeks.
“Working in childcare made me think about how I could support children who have learning or behavioural challenges,” Nikki said.
“However, with a young family, I wasn’t sure whether I would be able to get through the course.
“It has been a real challenge to manage everything, but I’ve been able to achieve the dream because the teachers were so supportive, and I really resonated with the way the content was presented.”
TAFE NSW Early Childhood and Education Support teacher Sandra Cameron said there is a high demand for education support staff and Nikki’s journey is a great example of how students could quickly achieve their goals while studying.
“Nikki is a committed student and that flows into her work - her employers have given us excellent feedback about how she does her job,” Ms Cameron said.
To find out more about studying education support and other courses at TAFE NSW, visit www.tafensw.edu.au.
Media contact: Sarah Lievore, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org