A TAFE NSW graduate with a passion for working with vulnerable children has now set her sights on helping shape the future direction of the early childhood education sector.
Despite not finishing her high schooling, Teagan Armstrong has now completed a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education and Care through TAFE NSW Wollongong and is midway through her second Masters degree – and she’s only 24.
As thousands of local Year 12 students countdown to next month’s HSC, Ms Armstrong said her experience highlighted the many different pathways to finding a rewarding career.
A recent report by the National Skills Commission identified an acute skills shortage in the childcare industry, and a strong future demand for skills in the sector.
Ms Armstrong left school in year 11 and “fell into” a childcare traineeship at 17, later completing a Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care at TAFE NSW Wollongong and a Bachelor degree at TAFE NSW Shellharbour.
“I grew up in a non-traditional family and there was always this stereotype around my type of upbringing, so I was determined to help the future generation of vulnerable kids feel like they belonged,” Ms Armstrong said. “Many of the families at the centre I worked at were from Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander backgrounds, and had intergenerational unemployment and other challenges.
“My mission is to inspire these kids to know that even if they’re from a non-traditional household, they can still succeed in life.”
Ms Armstrong is now a supervisor at Oxford Multicultural Childcare in Wollongong and has a Master of Education and a partially completed Master of Research.
She is hoping to use her qualifications and experience to do a deep dive into the early childhood sector and inform government policy about its future direction. And she credits TAFE NSW with helping launch her remarkable career.
“I’m a huge advocate for TAFE NSW and I couldn’t have done this without the flexible learning and expert teaching they provided,” Ms Armstrong said. “I was working full-time the whole time I did my degree and they allowed me to do night lectures and summer school so I could complete it.”
TAFE NSW Children’s Education and Care Team Leader Justine Poidevin said the bachelor degree, being offered at TAFE NSW Shellharbour in 2022, qualifies graduates to work as four-year trained teachers at preschool and long day cares.
“Whether you’re leaving school, considering a career change or upskilling, the Bachelor of Early Childhood Education and Care is a pathway to a rewarding career, just as Teagan has shown,” Ms Poidevin said.
To find out more about studying early childhood education at TAFE NSW, call 13 16 01 or visit www.tafensw.edu.au
Media contact: Daniel Johns, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, (02) 6938 1441, mobile 0477 722 428