TAFE NSW partners with child and family centre to train Aboriginal community members

by Freya Lucas

August 08

TAFE NSW Glendale has developed a partnership with Nikinpa, a local Aboriginal child and family centre, to deliver an education program that will see 14 Aboriginal community members earn a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care.

 

Nikinpa Manager Emma Beckett said that when the year-long program ran three years ago, all students gained employment from it, aside from one student who moved away and another who had family commitments.

 

“The students of the TAFE NSW Glendale program at Nikinpa are really valued in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector, because of the cultural competencies and content they can bring,” Ms Beckett said.

 

She outlined the importance of educators as role models for First Nations children, saying “there is no better person to educate an Aboriginal child then an Aboriginal educator because they will have a better understanding of that child, their needs, their cultures, the challenges they may face and the celebrations they may be involved in. There is no doubt that the young person will relate better to an Aboriginal Educator, it’s about connectedness, knowing and belonging.”

 

With just over two per cent of early childhood teachers (based on 2016 figures) identifying as Aborignal or Torres Strait Islander, Ms Beckett said culturally safe adult learning spaces were of particular importance to the Aborignal or Torres Strait Islander community. 

 

“Local Aboriginal people know our service here at Nikinpa and know they can be successful here. We have all the equipment that’s needed for training at Nikinpa and we have the children here too, so the students can easily access the practical experience they need to be high-value childcare educators.” 

 

As part of the units of study, educators will “conduct excursions out in the bush, learning about risk assessments, and visit the local school,” Ms Beckett explained. 

 

She noted the support of the Aboriginal Engagement Unit at TAFE NSW, who helped organise the program and bring Aboriginal perspectives into the teaching. “Plus, the staff at Nikinpa are welcome to join in and contribute whenever we like, so the students feel really supported and nurtured throughout the program.”

 

TAFE NSW Regional General Manager Susie George said she was proud to work for a community-focused organisation that delivers culturally sensitive education and training to Aboriginal people.

 

“I am looking forward to hearing of the student success stories from this program, as the community benefits from more Aboriginal childcare educators.”

 

More information about TAFE NSW can be accessed via their website, or by calling 131 601. 

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