CARING KIND: TAFE NSW Narrandera early childhood graduate Elka Odgers flanked by some of the children from TAFE NSW Narrandera Children’s Centre.
A TAFE NSW Narrandera early childhood education graduate has secured her first job in the industry – at the same centre she attended as a toddler.
Elka Odgers, 19, has recently signed on as an educator at TAFE NSW Narrandera Children’s Centre, a long-standing community facility that sits inside the grounds of the Elwin Street campus.
Ms Odgers attended the centre as a two-and-three-year old in 2005-06, and said it was a surreal experience to be returning to the centre to help shape the formative years of a new generation of locals.
“It’s really special and kind of feels like a trip down memory lane,” Ms Odgers said.
“Some of the educators there are the same ones I had as a child and it’s been an amazing experience.”
It comes as the early childhood industry faces a growing skills gap, with a recent report by the National Skills Commission identifying strong future demand for skills in the sector.
Ms Odgers, a born-and-bred local, studied a Certificate III and a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care through TAFE NSW, saying it gave her the practical skills and experience to make an immediate impact in the job.
“TAFE NSW was the perfect place to build my skills and confidence; the teachers were so experienced in the industry and supportive,” Ms Odgers said.
“I’ve always loved children and babies but it wasn’t until I started studying the course at TAFE NSW until I started believing I could really do the job.
“Zero to five are the most important learning years of a child’s life and I love being there to nurture them.”
TAFE NSW Early Childhood Team Leader Justine Poidevin said Ms Odgers’ story was a powerful example of how TAFE NSW doesn’t just equip graduates with job-ready skills but also uses its industry connections to help them secure a job,
“The early childhood industry is crying out for educators right now and TAFE NSW has unparalleled industry connections to help graduates secure the job they want,” Ms Poidevin said.
“Whether you’re leaving school or considering a career change, the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care is a pathway to a rewarding career, just as Elka has shown,” Ms Poidevin said.
Media contact: Daniel Johns, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, 0477 722 428