Cole Oakes wants to see more men in ECEC, highlighting the rewards
The Sector > Quality > Professional development > Cole Oakes wants to see more men in ECEC, highlighting the rewards

Cole Oakes wants to see more men in ECEC, highlighting the rewards

by Freya Lucas

February 28, 2023

Cole Oakes is a 23-year-old Wollongong early childhood educator completing his Bachelor of Early Childhood Education and Care who would like to see more men entering the sector he is so passionate about. 


Mr Oakes began his career with a Certificate III in Children’s Services before progressing to a Diploma, and then on to his degree, which he is now in the final year of. Along the way he has become a passionate advocate for the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector, crediting TAFE NSW with helping launch his promising career.


With males comprising less than three per cent of educators in the sector, Mr Oakes is on a mission to highlight the rewarding work and huge potential for career growth in early childhood education and care.


“It’s an incredible job, especially when you help a child make that link and connection in their learning,” he said. “The first five years are the most important years for brain development and to see a child really engaged and focused in the moment and then connecting the dots really is the best.


“The job is so rewarding, it never feels like work.”


Mr Oakes, who works as an educator at Figtree’s New Day Kids, said any stigma surrounding men working in the ECEC sector was diminishing.


“I’m very lucky to be entering the sector at such a progressive time,” he said. “Parents are actively looking for different types of educators and I’ve had nothing but positive experiences.”


To create a support network for himself and other men Mr Oakes is looking at establishing a male early childhood educator support group in the region, and said choosing TAFE NSW to complete his bachelor degree had given him “a flying start to success”.


“TAFE NSW has been amazing at getting the practical skills and knowledge I need, and helping me create a network of people in the industry,” he said. “The teachers are amazing and so experienced, the lectures feel more like discussions and you’re treated as a person, not a number. I honestly don’t understand how anyone would do uni over TAFE NSW.”


To learn more about Bachelor pathways with TAFE NSW, please see here

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