The Victorian Government’s Free TAFE initiative covers the tuition fees for more than 30 SWTAFE courses where the demand for workers is high.
South West TAFE Early Childhood Senior Educator Leeona Van Duynhoven said it was a great opportunity for students to gain the skills and qualifications to work in a growing field while removing the financial barrier to study.
“Our students come out of this course ready for the workforce and as a FREE TAFE course it gives so many more people the opportunity to follow their dreams and work in a field where workers are in demand,” she said.
Mrs Van Duynhoven said it was also a great opportunity for Portland and Hamilton students to be able to study close to home, removing the need to travel long distances.
Hamilton’s Charley Bunting completed both the Certificate III and Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care with South West TAFE and said she felt well prepared when she entered the workforce.
Charley started studying at university but when she decided that it wasn’t for her she decided to look into child care.
“It was something I had always been interested in when I was at high school and I just love it now,” she said.
Charley now works as an educator at the Kathleen Millikan Centre in Casterton and loves helping children to learn and give them a positive start to their education.
She said the course at South West TAFE set her up perfectly to succeed in her current role.
“I use the skills and knowledge I learnt at TAFE every day at work and the training helped me in successfully gaining employment in the first place.
“Through our training, we received so much practical experience and I think TAFE students are so successful because of the support of fantastic teachers,” she said.
Charley will continue gaining experience in her current role, with plans to one day further her studies to become a kindergarten teacher.
Glenelg Shire Children’s Services Manager Janine Johnstone welcomed Charley to the Glenelg Shire team.
“We are thrilled to welcome Charley, along with four other new staff members to the Kathleen Millikan Centre this year,” she said.
“All six of our education and care services have been assessed as “exceeding” the national quality standards and are in high demand across the shire.
“I strongly encourage community members interested in pursuing a rewarding career in the early childhood sector to take advantage of the free courses.”