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SLIDING DOORS: How TAFE NSW helped Daniela find her calling for caring

TAFE NSW Shellharbour

SLIDING DOORS: How TAFE NSW helped Daniela find her calling for caring

31 August, 2020

A Wollongong mum who arrived in Australia with little English but a long-held dream to be an early childhood educator has urged other locals to “believe in themselves and follow their professional passion”.

Daniella Grote was a Trainee of the Year finalist at June’s Illawarra and South East Training Awards and has credited TAFE NSW for changing the course of her life and for helping her to secure a role at Elonera Montessori in Mt Ouzley.

Originally from Austria, Ms Grote moved to Australia for love in 2009 and despite a life-long ambition to be a kindergarten teacher, lacked the self-belief and English skills to chase her dream.

A meeting with a TAFE NSW counsellor in 2016 convinced her to take a leap of faith and she enrolled in a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care at TAFE NSW Shellharbour, gaining a traineeship within a week of starting her work placement at Balgownie Preschool and Montessori Centre.

Ms Grote said: “I had doubts about whether I had the right strengths for the job but as soon as I started studying at TAFE NSW, I began to believe in myself.

“TAFE NSW is so practical and hands-on, and you have teachers who have all been in the industry standing in front of you and explaining how to put your training into action. You don’t get that in any other form of study.”

The mum-of-one was previously an interior designer but said working in childcare had “awakened something deep in her soul”.

“I just want to say to others not to think they can’t do their dream job,” she said.

“You need to get the right training and then once you get a job on the field, you might surprise yourself. I’m living proof.”

The TAFE NSW Jobs of the Future report, released in 2018, predicted “early childhood teacher” would have the highest percentage growth of any profession in the Illawarra to 2023.

TAFE NSW Early Childhood teacher Renae Beckett said employment prospects remained strong on the region. 

“There are new childcare centres popping up everywhere and they are screaming out to employ people,” she said.

“If you have a desire to want to help others and have a positive impact on a child’s life then working in early childhood education is a wonderful career. And no two days are ever the same in childcare.”

To find out more about studying childcare at TAFE NSW for semester two, phone 13 16 01 or visit

Media contact: Daniel Johns, TAFE NSW Media and Communications – Business Partner, 6938 1441, mobile 0477 722 428.