Predictions show early childhood education set to increase by 13.9 per cent

POSITIVE EXPERIENCE: Early childhood education student Rebekah Mealey. Photo: SUPPLIED
POSITIVE EXPERIENCE: Early childhood education student Rebekah Mealey. Photo: SUPPLIED

Studying from home, and working in the industry at the same time has been 'a positive experience' for student Rebekah Mealey. 

Ms Mealey studied a certificate III in early childhood education and care through TAFE Western Connect at TAFE Wellington where she now lives. 

Her story comes as new figures show a high demand for skilled early childhood workers in NSW. 

TAFE NSW research has shown by 2021 the early childhood education and care industry in NSW is set to increase by 13.9 per cent.

The Australian Government Jobs Outlook data suggests that now is the perfect time to be pursuing a career in this industry with more than 36,000 job openings forecasted Australia-wide by 2022.

Ms Mealey said studying from her home town was convenient for her. 

"I am able to study by video conference, which allows me to be closer to home and not have to travel to Dubbo or Orange," Ms Mealey said.

Working with children is the most rewarding role. Being a positive influence on children's lives is something I'm so passionate about.

Rebekah Mealey

"I am also working in the industry and I'm able to practice what I'm learning through my role at Barnardos Australia Wellington, where I work at the Yalmambirra Learning Centre (YLC) on the Home Interaction Parenting Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY)."

Yalmambirra Learning Centre Coordinator, Thea Dorin, was full of praise for Rebekah's dedication and commitment to the organisation and her studies.

"Rebekah's role involves provided one-on-one tutoring to 10-12 children over an eight week term.

"I believe Rebekah's studies have helped her develop hands-on skills and gain an understanding of working in a child friendly environment and has allowed her to confidently execute her daily duties.

"Some of her duties include prepping healthy meals, setting up afternoon activities and reading with the children.

Ms Mealey said she planned on studying a Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care, Community Services and Disability Services after she completes her current certificate. 

"I plan on studying [the diploma] to fully equip me with the skills needed to be able to work with children who need support to give them the best opportunities in life."