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Local migrant builds new life in Australia with help of TAFE NSW

Local migrant builds new life in Australia with help of TAFE NSW

As demand for early childhood educators in Ryde grows, TAFE NSW is helping local migrants forge a rewarding career in the industry.

According to the National Skills Commission, the number of early childhood teachers in Ryde has grown by 15 per cent over the past five years.

Originally from Afghanistan, Zari Barikzai is one of many locals turning to TAFE NSW to upskill. After studying a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care at TAFE NSW Meadowbank, she now works part time at Explore & Develop North Ryde Public School, with plans to study the Diploma. 

“I migrated to Australia in 1994 as a teenager with my parents and younger brother, escaping the civil war in Afghanistan. I was lucky to be able to build a life and family here in Australia, and worked from home as a project manager while looking after my three kids,” Ms Barikzai said.

“Once my children had grown up, I realised I needed a career change and decided to follow my passion for working with children. I enrolled in the Certificate III which has been a stepping stone to a rewarding career in the industry.

“I feel blessed to be able to continue my education, especially since my own cousins back home cannot go to school past primary school because they are girls. My parents left everything behind in Afghanistan so we could continue our education, so I want to do them proud.

“The teachers at TAFE NSW have been so supportive, and I was able to complete a work placement and gain practical skills. I love working with children and applying all the knowledge I’ve gained so far, and am looking forward to starting the Diploma next year and becoming an early childhood teacher.”

TAFE NSW Head Teacher of Early Childhood Education and Care, Kristen Graziani, said stories like Zari’s highlight the life-changing impact of quality training.

“Zari’s journey highlights not only the growing demand for qualified early childhood educators, but also the importance of having access to hands-on training and personalised support,” Ms Graziani said.

“Through a mixture of theory and practical work, our courses in early childhood education and care provide students with the hands-on skills they need to make a real difference in children's lives, and create stimulating and safe learning environments.”

Media contact: Emma Hughes, Communications Specialist, 0409 618 291,