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Patrick pursues his dream career with a TAFE NSW degree

TAFE NSW Nirimba

Patrick pursues his dream career with a TAFE NSW degree

Australia’s early childhood education industry is dominated with female employees with statistics from the Australian Government revealing that less than 3 per cent of all employees are male.[1]

TAFE NSW Nirimba student, Patrick Conneely hasn’t been deterred by this statistic and is currently employed as a childcare worker at SDN Beranga, an autism specific preschool in Rooty Hill.

Mr Conneely was working in the community services sector before enrolling in the Bachelor of Early Childhood Education and Care at TAFE NSW Nirimba so he could follow his passion to educate the next generation.

“I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, but I did not think I was academic-minded enough to study a degree. I got to the age of 28 and decided it was now or never. I chose to enrol in the degree at TAFE NSW as I thought the hands-on learning environment would be better suited to me.

“When I first began studying the Bachelor of Early Childhood Education and Care at TAFE NSW Nirimba, I found it quite difficult as I had never had to write academically or use my critical thinking skills in that way. However, with the support of my teachers I really started to thrive in the degree.

“My TAFE NSW teachers really inspired me to push myself above and beyond what I thought I was capable of and I was able to use the skills I was learning, while studying the degree, in my role as a childcare worker at SDN Beranga.” said Mr Conneely.

TAFE NSW Early Childhood Education and Care Head teacher, Melinda Barsoum said when Patrick started studying at TAFE NSW Nirimba was very unsure of himself and whether higher education study was for him. Now he is one of the top students.

“Patrick's perseverance and continuous interest to learn everything he can about early childhood education has allowed him to further develop his passion and seen him quickly develop the practical and theoretical skills that are attractive to employers.

“He is extremely passionate and would attend all the extra support sessions offered at TAFE NSW Nirimba,” said Ms Barsoum.

Mr Conneely’s employer Christine Zuvela from SDN said, “Patrick is an asset to SDN Beranga. He has been working here casually since April and has completed two of his Practicum’s here.

During this time, he has demonstrated great strength to develop relationships with children and families, and program experiences that enhance children’s development in all areas and I have no doubt he’ll make a fantastic teacher.”

Passionate to see more men working in the childcare industry, Mr Conneely recently completed his final research proposal on males working in the early childhood industry.

Applications are now open for the TAFE NSW Early Entry Program to degrees. For more information, visit to find out more.

Media contact: Emma Cawley, TAFE NSW Media Officer, or 0412 478 415