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Echuca locals encouraged to enrol in free childcare courses

By Charmayne Allison

BERRIMBA Childcare was front and centre on Thursday when state politicians dropped into town to urge locals to enrol in Free TAFE childcare courses.

As part of the tour, Minister for Training and Skills and Higher Education Gayle Tierney and Member for Northern Victoria Mark Gepp also visited Echuca TAFE.

The call for more childcare enrolments is ramping up as the rollout of universal three-year-old kinder fast approaches.

Touted as the biggest reform in early childhood education in our state's history, the rollout, set for 2021, will see a boom in the demand for qualified early childhood educators locally.

Including at Echuca's Berrimba Childcare, where Ms Tierney was blown away by a dance and song performance from the children and educators.

“It was absolutely breathtaking and obviously there is so much work being done here to embed culture into the lives of all children that access this wonderful centre,” she said.

“It's a reminder of how important it is to have enough teachers to ensure we can get the best out of our local young people at the earliest possible time.

“For anyone who has considered working in kinders or childcare, this is the perfect time to enrol in early childhood education at TAFE.”

Ms Tierney also visited the Echuca TAFE campus to meet with free TAFE students.

The most popular free TAFE courses currently include community services, education support, justice, disability and nursing.

While at the campus, the minister also met with students taking part in the Aboriginal Workforce Development Initiative, which has seen the TAFE work with Njernda Aboriginal Corporation to provide training for 27 local workers.

This fit-for-purpose training is targeted to provide residential care services to Aboriginal locals.

“The participants have been working in this industry for a long time and this national qualification enhances that,” Bendigo TAFE indigenous business development, engagement and capacity building officer Kellie Jones said.

“They're learning a variety of skills from note-taking, how to deal with trauma and processes around OH and S.

“It's giving them that formal knowledge and skill to know what they're doing is actually the right process.”

To find out more about free TAFE early childhood courses, visit skills.vic.gov.au/victorianskillsgateway