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Kim helps others to help others

TAFE Queensland's new teacher program - a magnet for passionate industry experts

Whilst new to teaching Community Services qualifications to TAFE Queensland students in Toowoomba, Kim McNair is as ‘expert’ as they come, having worked intensively in various community sector roles for the past 13 years. After originally being educated herself by TAFE Queensland, Kim was employed as a Mental Health Worker within a Domestic Violence Refuge, coordinated a Mental Health Program supporting people at risk of homelessness, and was a Team Leader of a Disability Service. And now the next stage of her career sees her sharing her enthusiasm and knowledge with future generations of community service professionals, thanks to TAFE Queensland’s new Foundation Educator Program…

“This year I’m teaching Certificates III and IV and the Diploma of Community Services. I’ll be providing my students with industry-related activities, role-play scenarios replicating real stories of individuals they’ll go on to support, and passing on my practical knowledge of the processes required to meet organisation and industry standards. And obviously all theory components too,” Kim offered.

“And while I enjoy teaching all units, my favourite is the mental health and advocacy cluster, due to my roles and experience in industry. It’s a subject I’m very passionate about, especially supporting people at risk of homelessness due to their mental health,” shared Kim.

Kim first heard about her initial Foundation Educator role from her TAFE Queensland Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAE) Teacher. The Foundation Educator Program sees industry experts employed and paid as a Foundation Educator whilst completing their TAE through TAFE Queensland, with the latter being fully funded, if completed within 12 months. It (the program) was designed and developed by TAFE Queensland to attract passionate industry experts and convert them into the highest quality teachers and tutors, swiftly – in direct response to Vocational Education and Training recruitment challenges identified within a new research paper from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research.

As Foundation Educators progress through each stage of their training qualification, their responsibilities within the classroom increase, under the guidance of the Foundation Educator’s appointed Supervisor, who acts as a ‘mentor’ to, and assesses and confirms the Foundation Educator’s required skills and competencies. And on graduation – they become a teacher with TAFE Queensland.

When asked if she’d recommend the Foundation Educator Program to others, Kim replied “I would say it is a great pathway to teaching at TAFE. You will be supported, mentored and at the end of your course you’ll be rewarded with a qualification and a career as an educator that you will be proud of,” said Kim.

Unequivocally we at TAFE Queensland, our community services students, and their eventual clients are fortunate to have someone like Kim as part of our educational team.