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TAFE NSW and Nikinpa join forces for Aboriginal childcare education program

TAFE NSW Glendale

TAFE NSW and Nikinpa join forces for Aboriginal childcare education program

TAFE NSW and Nikinpa join forces

TAFE NSW Glendale has partnered with Toronto-based Aboriginal child and family centre Nikinpa to deliver an education program that will see 14 Aboriginal community members earn a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care.

With a nationally recognised qualification in-hand, the students will then have an almost-guaranteed employment outcome either with Nikinpa or a mainstream Aboriginal childcare provider.

Nikinpa manager Emma Beckett said when the year-long program ran three years ago all students gained employment from it, aside from one student who moved away and another who had family commitments.

“The students of the TAFE NSW Glendale program at Nikinpa are really valued in the industry because of the cultural competencies and content they can bring,” Ms Beckett said.

 “It is important that young impressionable children have indigenous role models in their lives when they are growing up and that isn’t always the case in early education.

“There is no better person to educate an Aboriginal child then an Aboriginal educator because they will have a better understanding of that child, their needs, their cultures, the challenges they may face and the celebrations they may be involved in. There is no doubt that the young person will relate better to an Aboriginal Educator, it’s about connectedness, knowing and belonging.”

According to the 2.36% of preschool teachers in 2016 identified as ATSI, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. This is in comparison to the 3.3% of individuals in the population who identify as ATSI.

“We know there are many Aboriginal people out there who are capable, competent and interested in working with children but they can’t necessarily attend a TAFE NSW facility.

“Aboriginal people are much more likely to attend a culturally safe place – they know that kind of space and they are comfortable with it. They know our service here at Nikinpa and know they can be successful here.

“We have all the equipment that’s needed for training at Nikinpa and we have the children here too, so the students can easily access the practical experience they need to be high-value childcare workers. They also conduct excursions out in the bush, learning about risk assessments, and visit the local school.

“The Aboriginal Engagement Unit at TAFE NSW have been great too. They’ve helped organise the program and bring the Aboriginal perspective into the teaching. Plus, the staff at Nikinpa are welcome to join in and contribute whenever we like, so the students feel really supported and nurtured throughout the program.”

TAFE NSW Regional General Manager Susie George said, “I am proud to work for a community-focused organisation that delivers culturally sensitive education and training to Aboriginal people.”

“I am looking forward to hearing of the student success stories from this program, as the community benefits from more Aboriginal childcare workers taking care of their own.”

Australia’s largest training provider, TAFE NSW offers over 1200 courses, from certificates to degrees. Many can be studied online via TAFE Digital, when and where it suits. Visit or call 131 601.


Media contact: Sarah Lievore, TAFE NSW Media & Communications Business Partner