23 November 2022

From toddler to childcare educator, Elka Odgers goes back to where it all began

| Evelyn Karatzas
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girl with kids at childcare centre

Elka Odgers with children at the Narrandera childcare centre. Photo: TAFE NSW.

At only two, Elka Odgers never would have expected that by the time she became an adult, she’d be back in the children’s centre she once regularly attended, but this time as an educator.

The now 19-year-old TAFE NSW Narrandera graduate has successfully secured her first job in the industry as an educator at the same centre she attended as a toddler in 2005 and 2006 – the Narrandera TAFE Children’s Centre.

This centre is a long-standing community facility that can be found on the Elwin Street campus in Narrandera.

Elka said it had been a surreal experience to return to the centre to help in shaping the formative years of new generations of toddlers to come.

“It’s really special and kind of feels like a trip down memory lane,” Elka said.

“Some of the educators there are the same ones I had as a child.

“It’s been an amazing experience.”

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Elka studied for a Certificate III and a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care through TAFE NSW in Narrandera.

She said it allowed her to learn the practical skills needed, while gaining experience to make an immediate impact in the job.

“TAFE NSW was the perfect place to build my skills and confidence; the teachers were so experienced in the industry and supportive,” Elka said.

Elka Odgers as a toddler

Elka when she was a toddler. Photo: TAFE NSW.

“I’ve always loved children and babies, but it wasn’t until I started studying the course at TAFE NSW until I started believing I could really do the job.

“Zero to five are the most important learning years of a child’s life and I love being there to nurture them.”

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TAFE NSW’s Early Childhood team leader Justine Poidevin said Elka’s story was just one powerful example of how TAFE NSW didn’t just equip their graduates with job-ready skills, but also used its industry connections to help them secure a job in their desired field.

“The early childhood industry is crying out for educators right now and TAFE NSW has unparalleled industry connections to help graduates secure the job they want,” Ms Poidevin said.

“Whether you’re leaving school or considering a career change, the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care is a pathway to a rewarding career, just as Elka has shown.”

A recent report by the National Skills Commission indicated the early childhood education industry was seeing a growing skills gap and there is now a bigger demand for people to study and learn these skills in early education.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in early childhood education, TAFE NSW offers a wide range of courses, qualifications, certificates, diplomas and degrees.

To find out more about the courses available and how to enroll, visit TAFE NSW.

Original Article published by Evelyn Karatzas on Region Riverina.

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