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Fee-Free TAFE helps Teyden start a childcare career

Teyden Pearl is on the path to a rewarding career in early childhood after discovering Fee-Free TAFE.

Fee-Free TAFE funding is part of the Queensland Government's Good People. Good jobs: Queensland Workforce Strategy 2022–2032.

It aims to connect, educate and attract the people needed to meet the state's workforce demand in existing and new industry sectors to support continued economic growth.

Fee-free TAFE has enabled Teyden to undertake a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care (CHC30121) offered by TAFE Queensland at The Buzz in Yarrabilba.

"I've always been fascinated with biomechanics, so originally, I was a massage therapist and training to become a physiotherapist. Unfortunately, I suffered a stroke three years ago and needed to pivot careers into something less physically demanding," Teyden said.

After studying a Certificate II in Electrotechnology (UEE22020) through TAFE Queensland, Teyden enjoyed the hands-on training style and got the confidence to pursue a longer course.

Looking into the Fee-Free courses, Teyden discovered the Certificate III of Early Childhood Education and Care (CHC30121) was an option, and his interest was piqued.

"Throughout my career, I always enjoyed helping children, and when I saw this course was offered Fee-Free, I couldn't believe that something that comes so naturally to me could be my full-time job," Teyden said.

Now training to teach, guide and support children for a living from a young age, Teyden is thriving under the guidance of teachers from the industry with a small class of like-minded classmates.

"I've asked questions about things I'm either struggling with or not understanding, and Mel, Marie, and Claire have all helped me when I'm struggling."

"I'm learning the ideal methods to care for children, and it's fascinating. Knowing calming techniques, conflict resolution, handling emotions, and separation anxiety are all interesting. There's more to child care than what's on the surface, and I'm getting more confident," he said.

Also helping Teyden's learning is the modern facilities he's training in, which are brand new, purpose-built and close to home.

"Yarrabilba is a nice space, and we have access to computers for doing assignments and accessing TAFE Connect. There's butcher paper, pens and markers for brainstorming group work. It's a great environment for us to contribute and help each other learn."

"Being male, it's a little intimidating being in a female-dominated industry, but I'm confident. Each day, we do group activities and role-play to learn how to hold a baby, transfer them to another person, burp them, pick them up from the ground or highchair and the correct way to handle them and support the baby's head."

"We have opportunities to engage outside of this course, to connect, ask questions, and discuss things we either don't understand or just want more information. We also have created a Facebook group to discuss things and help each other."

While yet to graduate, Teyden has noticed the number of childcare centres seeking employees around his area.

"While there are a few childcare centres around where I live that are hiring, which would be a convenient opportunity to follow up with after this, childcare is an industry where you can work just about anywhere – so I have many options."

Teyden is hugely grateful for Fee-Free funding and is using the money he saved to offset the cost of living.

"This has been a great opportunity, and I'm glad I went for it. Fee-Free has helped me financially, and TAFE Queensland is giving me the skills I need to work in an industry where I'll see the difference I make each day," Teyden said.

"The format, the amount of work required and the support have made studying much more manageable. Before this, I studied a bachelor's and several other courses, and TAFE's hands-on and practical teaching is just much better suited to my learning style," concluded Teyden.