With recent TAFE NSW research forecasting ‘early childhood teacher’ to be the third-fastest growing occupation on the NSW North Coast to 2021 (12.6% increase in employment), job opportunities abound.
Mark Taylor has been the director of and a teacher at KU Peninsula Community Preschool in Tanilba Bay NSW since 2006. He believes the industry is just as suited to males as it is to females, something local students should keep in mind as they consider their career options.
Mark recently added to his many industry qualifications by completing a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education & Care (Birth-5) at TAFE NSW Glendale, via a mix of part-time and full time study over five years. He says people are now much more used to males working in childcare centres and preschools.
“Although I received quite a few surprised looks in the early days, especially with being a director, I haven’t had many concerns and am treated respectfully. Occasionally I still hear ‘wow, it’s great you’re doing this’ but it is very much accepted. And because we’re a small community, I’m well-known now,” he said.
“I’m really happy with the work I am doing. What drew me to the early childhood industry is the nurturing side of the occupation and providing growth opportunities for children, giving them guidance and direction. As educators, we play a big role in their early learning and in advocating for that.
“I must have passed that thinking on to my son because in 2017 he became an early childhood educator too. The advice I gave him, and I would give to other males, is to seriously consider this career path because it is very rewarding. As teachers, we provide the first layer of education when children are developing their resilience, ability to socialise and the foundations of their academic learning.
“If I can convince my son to do his Diploma then I will suggest TAFE NSW. I highly recommend it to a lot of people; the teaching was wonderful and the small class made understanding concepts simple. TAFE NSW supports the emergent play-based environment and I think provides a much higher quality educator.”
Bachelor of Early Childhood Education & Care (Birth-5) course coordinator and lecturer, Dee Wardle, says the qualification will continue to thrive and build momentum within the Hunter community.
“The TAFE NSW degree is quickly becoming a qualification of choice for service providers, as we continue to produce high quality students with embedded practical expertise and industry readiness,” she said.
“This tertiary qualification requires rigor, knowledge and expertise. At TAFE NSW, students exist in a platform where they can question, debate and challenge each other and their lecturer. They have a voice that strengthens throughout their journey and we all contribute to a strong sense of community.
TAFE NSW is Australia’s largest training provider, offering over 1,200 courses, from certificates to degrees. Many can be studied online via TAFE Digital. Visit www.tafensw.com.au or call 131 601.