Get to know your Authorised Officer – Tayla Eastlake

Hear from a recent recruit about her transition from a service coordinator to an authorised officer, and how she draws on her sector experience to support services.

A person with long hair smiling at the camera. A person with long hair smiling at the camera.
Image: Taylor Eastlake works as an AO in an Agile team.

After almost a decade working in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector, Tayla Eastlake was eager for a new challenge but remained passionate about supporting services to uplift quality. So, when authorised officer (AO) roles with the NSW Department of Education became available, Tayla – then a coordinator for several long day care and outside of school hours care (OHSC) services – decided to take a chance and apply.

Fast forward to today and Tayla has now been with the department, the NSW Regulatory Authority for ECEC, for 10 months. As an AO within an Agile team, Tayla travels around the state as required to work with services to improve their compliance and quality practices, leading to better outcomes for the service and children.

Professional learning and development

AOs receive comprehensive training upon joining the department to ensure they are equipped with the tools and knowledge they need to effectively support the sector.  The Regulatory Empowerment and Learning (REAL) Program and National Authorised Officer training delivered by ACECQA are fundamental for all AOs to complete, along with completing their associated testing and assessments.

AOs initial training runs over a few months and includes both face-to-face workshops and e-learning modules that cover the fundamentals officers use in their everyday work, such as National Quality Agenda IT System and cultural competence training, and sessions on understanding different service types and quality ratings.

During in-office training days, the new AOs come together to network and learn from staff in other areas of the department about how their work to create better outcomes in ECEC aligns.  

Officers are also assigned a buddy and shadow the experienced AOs on service visits, gaining valuable hands-on experience before completing their first independent visit.  

Like services, continuous learning and improvement is a priority for AOs. A variety of ongoing training, webinars and opportunities to engage with colleagues are available for officers to support their continual learning so they can best support the sector and outcomes for children.  

Using sector experience to support services

Tayla’s experience in the ECEC sector shapes how she approaches her work. She understands the challenges and complexities of the sector and different service types, knowledge that she draws on every day.

Having joined the sector fresh out of high school as a casual at an OSHC service, before working her way up to become a nominated supervisor and later a coordinator, Tayla is well-versed in what best practice looks like in different ECEC settings. Now working through a regulatory lens, the Sydney-based AO helps services understand the links between the National Law and Regulations and best practice and how, together, they support services to deliver best outcomes for children.

Tayla’s past interactions with AOs while working in ECEC settings also shape how she engages with educators and service leaders.

“All of my experiences working in the sector with the department were positive and left a lasting impression,” Tayla reflected. “I try to remember that every time I step into a service.”

“Regardless of the nature of the visit, being approachable and having a smile on your face, while still getting your job done, will go a long way.”

Transition from a service coordinator to AO

While moving from a service environment to join the regulator has been a learning curve, the experience has been a positive one for Tayla.

“The first few months can be overwhelming at times as you wrap your head around things but also equally as rewarding,” she shared.

“It is hard to shift your thinking when first transitioning from working in a service to working for the regulatory authority. Coming from working in a service setting, you get so used to following their policies and procedures that it is easy to blur the line between what was an expectation from the organisation verse the regulatory requirements.”

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