What brought you into the early learning sector and what training did you do?
I initially established my career in the early learning sector by completing a traineeship. I loved that the traineeship provided an opportunity to engage in the key theoretical components of the course, while applying these in a practical setting working with children. Upon completing my traineeship, I was eager to further develop my knowledge and skills within the sector. I found a degree that enabled me to combine early childhood and primary teaching, which was great! Enrolling in the dual degree provided me with extensive employment options within and beyond early childhood. I was also keen to understand what children were going to learn beyond birth to five years so that I could ensure that I was supporting and preparing them as best as I could before their exciting transition to an academic/school context.
What drew you to come and work at Only About Children?
I came across a job advertisement for an educator at Only About Children. What initially drew me to apply for the role were the unique programs and services offered to families and children. I loved that OAC had their own unique curriculum that incorporated key areas and also catered to each individual age group. Upon learning more about OAC’s values and philosophy, it became clear to me that these aligned with my own. I was also in awe of the layout, design and resources of the campus that I initially visited for my interview and tour. Not only did it provide a wonderful space for the children to explore it was also an inviting space for educators to work in on a daily basis too. Additionally, I appreciated the unique ways that OAC recognised and celebrated their team, notably through the OAC Awards.
I had never worked for an organisation as big as OAC, however upon researching the company and speaking to a lovely recruiter, I was amazed by the opportunities available at OAC. I knew that joining a large organisation with multiple locations and roles would support my career journey and be conducive to my career goals, whereby I wanted to eventually manage a service.
How has Only About Children supported your continued learning and development?
During my journey with OAC, I have always been supported by internal stakeholders and given the opportunity to further my career by doing additional training.
For example, when I was studying my degree full-time, OAC enabled me to work full-time hours across four days. This meant that I did not need to compromise on my hours or income, and still had an additional day to be able to engage in my coursework for university. This enabled me to complete my degree on-time while managing a healthy work-life-study balance, which I feel is key.
What opportunities to move internally have you had in this time?
I have been working with Only About Children for seven years.
I initially started with OAC as a room educator before being offered a Room Leader role. Soon after, I progressed into a Nursery Manager role, where I supported two Nursery rooms, and a team of educators. I was then given the opportunity to support another OAC location, where I continued in a Nursery Manager role, and was then later promoted to an Assistant Director. This also provided me with an opportunity to be an Acting Campus Director at times and enabled me to develop my leadership skills.
How did you get into your current position as an Early Careers Manager?
I was eager to explore other roles in early childhood and wanted to know more about how the business operated beyond the campuses. I also wanted to be able to support other educators with their careers and development more broadly.
I was fortunate enough to be provided with an opportunity to join the OAC Support Office, where I took on a Learning & Development/Traineeships Coordinator role. I was then promoted to a Program Lead role for traineeships, and now I work as the Early Careers Manager. My role spans across the three states that OAC operates in and enables me to work across a number of key areas.
A key part of my role is the management of our traineeship program. I take pride in welcoming our new trainees at OAC and supporting them as they establish their career journeys within the early learning sector. This enables me to share my own experience and knowledge from when I worked as a trainee, and within various roles within OAC Campuses.
My engagement with our trainees spans across their traineeships to ensure that they are supported, acknowledged, and have the opportunity to engage in relevant professional development opportunities. I also support educators with their career goals and pathways through the work I do in line with OAC’s Education Assistance Program, and this is truly one of the most rewarding aspects of my role.
This program sees OAC financially support our team members who are interested in further study, notably the Diploma and Early Childhood Teaching degree. The financial assistance provided also ensures that team members do not have the financial burden that can also come with further study, particularly through tertiary institutions. Furthermore, I work closely with high schools, colleges, Universities, and relevant state government departments to promote the early childhood sector and career opportunities, as well as ensure that we as a business can support with work placements and host volunteers and students who are eager to gain experience within an early learning context. This is something that I enjoy engaging in and I am passionate about promoting the sector and the diverse roles and pathways available.
What makes working at Only About Children so special?
OAC provides flexibility for individuals and their career goals. It provides opportunity for ongoing career progression and leadership opportunities. Basically, you can progress as much, or as little as you like based on your own goals!
What do you love most about your job?
My role is incredibly rewarding, and I feel so lucky to be able to engage in work that I find meaningful and relevant. I have been fortunate enough to work in a variety of roles with OAC, and my experience in each of these has been a massive attribute to my career progression, particularly the work I do in my current role. I am very lucky to be able to work in a role that I genuinely love, and in a workplace that I honestly look forward to working in and being part of each and every day.
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