Caption: CARING KIND: Millie Shelley with some of the children from the Gumnut Childcare Centre in Gundagai - Archer Elphick, Ashlynn Lucas and Anna Murphy .
A TUMUT mum-of-four has encouraged others to pursue their “passion for compassion” at TAFE NSW amid figures revealing a looming jobs boom in the childcare industry.
The TAFE NSW Jobs for the Future report found between now and 2021, early childhood teacher jobs are projected to increase by 15.5 per cent in the Riverina, the highest of any employment area.
For Tumut mum Millie Shelley, who switched from working in aged care to childcare, a career in caring is more a calling than a profession.
Throughout her journey, she has relied on TAFE NSW to ensure she has the knowledge and hands-on skills to meet the challenges of a changing workplace.
Ms Shelley was thrust into a carer’s role early in life, giving birth to her first child at just 16.
The experience unlocked a deep love of caring in her and at 17, she enrolled in a Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) at TAFE NSW Tumut, securing a job in an aged care home upon graduating.
“I really loved it but I found it so hard to say goodbye to the residents,” Ms Shelley said.
She made a professional pivot and in 2016, enrolled in a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care at TAFE NSW Tumut to relaunch her career, a decision she describes as one of the best of her life.
“I moved to the other end of the human care spectrum but it was still the same principle,” Ms Shelley said. “Being a mum, I really loved those first five years of a child’s life and really missed it when my kids grew older.
“As an educator, you can have such a massive impact on a child’s life and the bonds you form with them are so strong.”
A testament to her quality training, she secured employment while still studying and is now an educator at Gundagai’s Gumnut Childcare Centre and Out of School Hours at Gundagai and Tumut.
Ms Shelley said the learning and hands-on experience she gained at TAFE NSW prepared her perfectly for a successful career in the industry.
“My TAFE NSW teacher was fantastic and if I had any questions whatsoever, she would always be there and point me in the right direction,” Ms Shelley said. “It meant I felt confident and qualified handling anything that came up in the workplace.”
TAFE NSW Tumut Teacher of Early Childhood, Kim Pollack, said employment outcomes for TAFE NSW graduates were exceptional.
“There are new childcare centres popping up everywhere and they are screaming out to employ people,” she said.
“It’s a wonderful job if you have a desire to want to help others and have a positive impact on a child’s life. And no two days are ever the same in childcare.”
The Certificate III and a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care is now available enrolment at TAFE NSW Tumut. The courses can also be studied online, when and where it suits students, via TAFE Digital.
To find out more about studying childcare at TAFE NSW, phone 13 16 01 or visit www.tafensw.edu.au/childrens-services-and-childcare-courses
Media contact: Daniel Johns, TAFE NSW Media and Communications – Business Partner, 6938 1441, mobile 0477 722 428.