A Man in Australia -

by Lisa Marie in Australia

Since Brendan's article in our Men in Childcare special we have received numerous positive feedback and emails congratulating us on posting the article and bringing the issue of Men in Childcare into focus. We decided to to interview Brendan for our Carer Spotlight to find out a little more....

Professional Childcare worker

Age: 25

Workplace: I work at Jacaranda Grove Pre School, Warners Bay NSW.
We cater for 2 to 5 year olds.

Qualifications:
After completing my HSC, I was lucky enough to receive a position in the highly sort after Community Services/ Children’s Services course at TAFE and in 2003 I received my Diploma.

How long have you been in the industry?
I’ve been working in childcare since half way through my TAFE course, so just a little over 6 years.

What first got you interested in becoming part of the industry?
I was the oldest of many children in my extended family and enjoyed the satisfaction of caring for them; helping them and watching them succeed. I have a family member with additional needs who always looked up to me and I especially enjoy my time that I spend with him. Many people suggested I look into a career choice with children and so I did.

What are essential skills to have for this profession?
I think that to work with children you have to have a natural rapport with them. You have to want to spend time with them and be willing to involve yourself in what they like to do, what they like to discuss and play. You need to be patient. You need to have some understanding of their limits and abilities. You must be affectionate, willing to get dirty, dance to Hi-5 and be silly at times.

What are the hardest/ greatest aspects of your job?
The hardest aspect would be the thoughts in the back of your mind that you could get yourself in a position that you may be accused of misconduct towards the children. There are ways to make sure you are always safe at work, such as not leaving yourself alone with the children and keeping other staff informed of what you’re doing during the day. But that is just a little bother of mine and a worry of a lot of other workers I know of.
The greatest part of the job is watching the children you care for learning and growing from a 2 year old in nappies to a 5 year old, very ready for school. Knowing that you have had a positive influence on their lives is a wondrous thing.

What advice would you give others wanting to take up this career?

If you have those essential skills and really want to work with children, go for it! There can never be too many positive influences in a child’s life. Because I studied first before working in a service, I’d suggest taking part in a training course. It gives you a further understanding of children and how best to assist each and every one of them in their development.

‘Hands-on’ work during the training is beneficial. Our TAFE service had a playgroup on the premises to give the students practice in a childcare setting whilst studying. Especially as a young person, reading philosophies and child studies from text books and then being dumped straight into a service would be a tough transition. Both study and time with children together would be the best mix.

What’s the best job you’ve had?

Not because I feel I have to say it, but the current job I have now is the greatest I’ve had in my time working in the industry. I have been working for the owner for quite some time now. To feel that I have become part of the team there is a wonderful feeling. I have built relationships with entire families as all their children pass through the service. We have built a respectable reputation and our centre is overloaded with people wanting spots for their children with us.

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