Rowena makes the shift to ECEC thanks to TAFE NSW mature aged scholarship
The Sector > Quality > Professional development > Rowena makes the shift to ECEC thanks to TAFE NSW mature aged scholarship

Rowena makes the shift to ECEC thanks to TAFE NSW mature aged scholarship

by Freya Lucas

May 13, 2023

Rowena Acnam’s career story is a remarkable example of resilience, determination and flexibility – all traits which stand her in good stead in her current role in early childhood education and care (ECEC). 


When her professional life began, Ms Acnam was an engineer, however her husband soon landed a role in Saudi Arabia, which left her in a complicated situation. 


While living in Saudi Arabia, she was unable to access employment opportunities in the engineering field, due to restrictions which prevent women from working in male dominated industries. 


“In Saudi Arabia, women were not allowed to work in manufacturing plants or any other places like that,” Ms Acnam explained. 


Her husband’s role took the family from Saudi Arabia to Bahrain, where she faced similar challenges, before the family decided to try for a new life and migrate to Australia. 


When her eldest child started school, Ms Acnam began to meet other parents, and to network with Australia’s Filipino community, who shared that ECEC roles in Australia were plentiful, encouraging her to step into a new field. 


Initially Ms Acnam undertook a Certificate IV in Children’s Services (Outside School Hours Care) with TAFE New South Wales, in 2013, shortly after she gained permanent residency. 


After spending many “uplifting” years in the Outside School Hours Care sector, the urge to again diversify hit, and in 202, Ms Acnam was able to secure a TAFE NSW Mature Aged Worker Scholarship, which enabled her to leverage on her natural talent for teaching and early education.


“My teacher said, ‘I’ve seen your work and I have no doubt with you’,” she explained.


Now that she has secured a Certificate III qualification, Ms Acnam has her eye on Diploma studies, and says that “everything I’ve learnt in the course, I am applying it at work now.”


As well as studying, she is an active volunteer in her local community, supporting children at the primary school, helping in the canteen, assisting in the library, and generally making the most of the opportunities a life in Australia has to offer. 


To learn more about the TAFE NSW Mature Aged Worker Scholarship please see here. Ms Acnam’s story first appeared in the PhilTimes publication. Access the original here

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