Interview with Megan Hamper, student of Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care.
Megan Hamper had no mean feat on her hands - completing her Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care with Open Colleges while at the same time studying a Bachelor in Psychology degree. Still, the cheerful Lysterfield, Victoria resident completed her early childhood certification with flying colours - and has since enjoyed a rewarding childcare centre placement that has per positioned for ample opportunities in this thriving sector.
Megan took time out from preparing for job interviews to chat to Open Colleges about her impressions of the industry thus far, offer up any tips to aspiring students and reveal why Pinterest can be a childcare worker’s best friend.
What attracted you to the area of education and childcare?
The fact that it’s really practical - I don’t have to study for a long time to actually start working. My Bachelor in Psychology took a long time, so I wanted to invest in something that I can start straightaway.
How did you go finding your work placement?
It was actually really easy for me! I’m not sure about other people, but I sent out the letters and when I followed up the next week, the second caller said they were happy to take me.
How did it feel showing up on your first day in your work placement?
I felt a bit nervous at first… but as I went along it actually turned out to be fun! I was told exactly what to do anyway so that made it pretty simple.
Tell me a little bit about where you worked. Was it a childcare centre and how many kids did they have?
It was a very homey looking centre - rather small, but with lots of kids. There’s three different rooms (the babies’ room, toddler room and the pre-kinder room) and there were always about six kids in each room at all times. That works because it wasn’t too busy. It was really good!
Did you find that work placement was a good way to get practical skills to use further down the track?
Yes, definitely. I actually got most of my skills from my work placement in the course, not from theory work.
Are you working in childcare at the moment or are you looking for work?
I am looking for work. I only finished my course last week, but I’ve already got a few interviews lined up so I am happy with that!
What are your career goals? Are you planning on doing further study?
For the next year or so, I want to enjoy full-time work in childcare and save some money. After that, I am considering doing a Masters as well while continuing to work. It’s always good to keep a working schedule on the side!
Why would you say childcare is such an awesome area to work in?
There’s always a lot of great jobs available in that sector! I want to be a Speech Pathologist, so I love how the two fields are related. Childcare can provide a stepping stone to other careers.
What was it like studying online? Any challenges along the way?
It was great, because I was able to study on my own schedule. I was actually doing my Bachelor at the same time! Sometimes I was so busy with my university studies that I wasn’t even doing any of the work for my Certificate - yet oddly, I still had lots of time and managed to finish everything early.
So you were doing Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care as well as a Bachelor of Psychology. You must have been super, super busy!
Indeed! But it actually wasn’t too bad because while I still have a year to finish my Certificate - and I’m already done.
Tell me a little bit about your lifestyle and interests…
I like music. I like travelling - not that I do it all that much - but I like learning about different cultures and trying out different foods. I also love cooking and just hanging out with my friends.
Are there any websites or blogs that you particularly like reading that are there on the subject of childcare and education?
I love Pinterest for images of childcare related activities - I always get some great ideas of games I can play with the kids at the centre!
If a student was thinking about studying childcare, what advice would you give them?
I would tell them to do it through Open Colleges because you have all the time you need to complete it - so there’s really nothing that can stop you from completing the course.
To find out more about Megan’s course, visit the Open Colleges website.