These qualifications allow her to work with children as a team leader in childcare. Often courses such as these can act as a pathway to further study, including teaching degrees.
When Lisa first started her studies with Open Colleges, she and her young family were located in Melbourne, Victoria. Lisa explains, “Online learning with Open Colleges made continuing my studies so much easier and more flexible! I was able to pick up where I left off so easily once we had settled in.”
Initially, Lisa began a teaching degree at university. “I got about a quarter of the way through,” explains Lisa, “and then I wasn’t sure if it was for me, so I put that on hold. I thought that maybe I should take a step back and get some experience with younger children first and sort of slow down and watch my girls grow up.”
She set her sights on working in the childcare industry as she felt that this would be a great way to combine her love of children with her aim to teach and her family’s needs too.
“I have a wonderful partner of six years, Wayne, and we have two beautiful children together,” says Lisa. “Mia is three-and-a-half and Zoey has just turned two. Studying with Open Colleges made learning and balancing two children so much easier.”
Lisa elaborates, “I was able to study whilst my children slept or went to day care, it was the most convenient option for me at the time and it worked a treat!” Lisa explains a little about how a practical subject like childcare can be taught via Open Colleges’ online learning platform, OpenSpace.
“The childcare courses were so easy to understand online,” says Lisa. “I was sent textbooks in the mail and completed all of my work using word documents on the computer. The work was pretty straight forward and easy to understand and there is always the support of your trainer online or the student support team if you get stuck. I used both several times during my studies to clarify lots of things!”
“Having two children myself, I thought childcare would be a good career path to follow so that I could work with them there with me. I started doing it and I just loved it! I love working with kids. I was either going to become a teacher or follow this path.”
Lisa’s courses required her to do a work placement. This is a structured activity where online students take on some practical work at an approved workplace, in Lisa’s case, a childcare centre. Students are supervised by a designated workplace supervisor and assessed by a workplace assessor, for a set number of pre-determined hours.
“I had to do a work placement for both my certificate and diploma,” explains Lisa. “This was straight forward and I was so lucky to gain employment during my work placement at a fabulous long daycare centre.”
“I think I was really lucky with the centre that I worked for,” says Lisa. “It was a brand-new centre so they were just slowly getting started. Within my first week of starting my Certificate III in Children’s Services placement they offered me a job there, so I worked while I finished my work placement. I was running the baby room within only a few months, I had just started my diploma.”
Some students have managed to gain employment after or during their work placement. Either way, credit for the work a student undertakes counts towards their assessment and course completion. Gaining a job can often be the icing on the cake.
It certainly worked for Lisa. There have been reports throughout Australia that the childcare industry desperately needs more workers. As of January 1st 2014, all people working in childcare in Australia need to hold a Certificate III in Children’s Services or higher qualification.
Doing an online course can be a great option if, like Lisa, you have other commitments. In fact, Lisa credits her course with her achieving her employment goals.
“This experience allowed me to gain the job I am in now, working as a room leader in a 30 place kindy room,” she says. “These new skills I have gained during my studies with Open Colleges have helped me to get somewhere I never thought I would be within only 12 months.”
Lisa feels enormously gratified by the work she does, explaining, “I am running kindy class and preparing these children for their school life! It’s crazy…hard to believe sometimes!” Having her kids attend the same daycare centre where she works is also an added bonus.
“It is a good work-life balance,” the mum says. “I am able to be there with my children. I think that I have the life experience, so I can relate to a lot of the parents. I think that it was perfect for me to get into the industry.” Lisa continues:
“It’s so rewarding. At the moment I am extremely happy with my job and what I am achieving and experiencing, I am learning so much day-to-day in my workplace, but in the future I do hope to work my way to the top.”
In the future, Lisa intends to start her own small business. “Hopefully, one day I will own and run my own centre, or perhaps I’ll be getting into training and assessment,” she says. “I will see where the road takes me. Eventually I can go on to be a director. When I get some more experience in the industry I definitely want to move on to do something a bit higher up.”
Lisa is certainly an enthusiastic student, saying, “Due to the flexibility, support and structure of the course, I signed up to complete my Certificate IV in Training and Assessment,” with Open Colleges as well.
Online students at Open Colleges can work with their trainers online and ask them for help during any stage of their studies. “I had lots of contact with my trainers,” Lisa says, “…especially during my diploma studies. I had so many questions which were easily answered or explained by my helpful trainers. I found the Open Colleges experience to be fantastic, I have and will continue to recommend Open Colleges to anyone!”
One of her trainers, Diana Penson has said, “Lisa’s strengths were definitely in her practical application of theory and knowledge of age-appropriate childcare practices. It was clear that Lisa was reliable, consistent and well organised, had set herself a goal and was able to achieve it well within the allocated time frame. The support she received in the workplace was also apparent.”
So what are the three most important personality traits that a good childcare worker needs? Lisa is pretty clear with her answer, saying, “You need to be positive, you need to be flexible (to work with the children’s routines) and calm – so you can handle stressful situations!”
If you’ve always wanted to get into childcare – you can start today. Open Colleges has many online courses, and a full network of support mechanisms for students ranging from trainer support, help from your course coordinator, connecting with other students and work placement support.
Originally published October 2013.
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