School-based traineeship restores love of learning

Ahead of the NSW Training Awards, Brendan Berecry meets a young woman who found a way to re-engage with learning thanks to a vocational course.

Image: Opening doors: A school-based vocational course has helped inspire Tara Vickery into a future career in teaching.

Tara Vickery has turned her school life around. After becoming disengaged with her education, she took a chance on a school-based traineeship in early childhood education.

Her selection as a school-based trainee of the year finalist in the NSW Training Awards to be held at Sydney Town Hall tomorrow night shows it was the right choice.

During her Year 10 studies at Uralla Central School, Tara lost interest in her studies. But after a meeting with her careers advisor, she began to investigate a career in early childhood education.

To extend on this interest, Tara was offered one day per week work experience as a as a school-based trainee at Uralla Preschool, an on-site early education centre at her school.

She also enrolled in a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care through TAFE NSW.

Tara soon thrived, gaining immense satisfaction from seeing the children develop each day and noticed she was able to thrive in a hands-on learning environment.

She had discovered a true passion for teaching.

“I was disengaged with my learning during years 9 and 10. Undertaking work experience at my local preschool, confirmed that I wanted to become a teacher and that was possible,” Tara said.

She said the VET pathway was right for her due to the interactive learning format and variety of both theory and practical tasks,

“The Cert 3 Early Childhood Education and Care allows me to work in both childcare and preschools. The qualification is recognised by University of New England. This will give me the option to attain a teaching degree upon completion of my HSC this year.”

During her traineeship, Tara developed her social skills, grew in confidence and gained a great sense of satisfaction from seeing the children learn and develop.

As well as the engaging day-to-day learning experiences Tara enjoyed while working at Uralla Preschool, she was able to develop work strategies by employing what she had learned through her Certificate III qualification.

“I have developed a variety of techniques and strategies by implementing what I have learnt at TAFE into the classroom,” she said.

Tara’s teachers at Uralla Central School say the shift they have witnessed in Tara has been remarkable, and that she is an inspiration to other students.

Tara said she was proud of what she had achieved through VET and the clarity she now had about her future and looked forward to one day becoming a kindergarten teacher.

“My school does not offer any HSC subjects that furthers my knowledge in early childcare education. As a result, the VET course at TAFE was the best option to meet my needs,” Tara said.

“My qualifications are recognised as prior learning for other positions such as a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood and Primary) at the University of New England. My goal now is to become a kindergarten teacher.”

The NSW Training Awards are conducted annually by Training Services NSW in recognition of outstanding achievements in Vocational and Education Training.

A full list of winners will be available after the event.

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