Twenty-two-year-old Rayleen Ross is a proud traditional owner of Townsville from the Bindal/Juru Tribe, and is about to complete a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care at TAFE Queensland.
Ms Ross believes much of who we are is learnt in our first few years, which is what drew her to the industry.
“I’ve learnt that quality early childhood education can have a positive long-term impact on the lives of children and their families,” Ms Ross said.
“I’m teaching children to be culturally aware and respectful, I’m helping them to be effective communicators, and I’m also encouraging them to develop a strong sense of identity and so much more,” she said.
Already working at the Barrier Reef Community Child Care Centre, Ms Ross was able to cut down her study time and costs with Recognition of Prior Learning which took her previous work experience into account.
“My teachers were very supportive and it’s great to have my prior experience recognised because it has allowed me to enhance my career pathway in a shorter period of time,” Ms Ross said.
“In the near future I hope to be a lead educator and someday a childcare centre director.”
Labour market research carried out by the Australian Government shows that employment of childcare centre workers and managers is due to increase by 18% and 21% respectively in the next five years.
Though the industry is set to keep growing, Ms Ross said it’s the fulfilment she gets from her work that cemented her career choice.
“Everyone I met at TAFE Queensland has been willing to go out of their way to help me achieve my goals and now I’m working in a wonderful childcare facility and I truly love coming to work every day,” she said.
“It’s really great to have a career that makes me feel so fulfilled. I’ll never be bored or unsatisfied with what I do as an early childhood educator.”