Celia enrolled in Prace’s Certificate III in Education Support Course in December 2019. Like many, she persevered through the disruptions in the education sector cause by the pandemic and recently had success in gaining employment as an integration aide at a local secondary school. Today Celia shares her learning journey with us.
Celia is a great example of lifelong learning. She had started her working life as a teacher overseas and then took a different path when she moved to Australia and returned to study. She completed her Masters degree in Accounting and became a mortgage consultant. After more than a decade in the finance industry she decided to take a leap of faith and return to study to become a teacher’s aide – a step Celia is very glad she had the courage to take.
“I wanted to make the change and get another qualification, but I didn’t want to do a Bachelor’s degree, so this course was perfect.
Celia enrolled in Prace’s Certificate III in Education Support Course in December 2019, expecting to graduate in September 2020. However, like so many other students all over the world, Celia’s graduation was delayed by the Covid-19 epidemic when she had to postpone her in-school placement – an essential part of the Certificate III in Education Support course. Luckily Celia was able to complete her placement at a primary school in early 2021.
“The placement was such an excellent part of the course. It really brought the theory and practice together and gave me confidence when I realised I could apply the skills I had learned in the course to real life situations.
Celia was planning to stay on at the school as a volunteer. She explains, “Often the process is that after placement you can stay on in a school as a volunteer, and then that can lead to some casual work and hopefully you might finally be offered an ongoing position.” Unfortunately, Melbourne went into another Covid-19 lockdown so she was unable to follow this plan.
Over the next few months Celia juggled studying with managing lockdown and other demands in her life, but she persisted and was able to complete all her coursework. In October 2021 she proudly received her graduation certificate and started applying for jobs soon afterwards.
“I sent out more than a dozen applications to primary schools, but without any success. Then I remembered a talk given to our class by a Prace graduate who advised us not to be too narrow in our focus, but to apply to a variety of schools, including secondary and special schools.”
Inspired by the graduate’s talk, Celia continued to apply for jobs but cast her net more widely, sending her resume to a variety of schools. This strategy paid off and she was soon invited to an interview at a secondary school.
“At first I was very nervous. They gave me a set of practical questions and I had ten minutes to prepare my answers. But I found that everything in the questions had been covered in my coursework at Prace, so I was able to talk about the topics confidently and felt that I did well in the interview.
“The feedback I got afterwards was very positive, but one of the other interviewees had already worked in a secondary school, so I missed out on that job.
“It was a good experience though and it gave me a lot of confidence, realising that I had learned what I needed to know to be able to answer the questions efficiently.”
Celia stayed positive and continued to send out her resume, but things were very quiet over the Christmas period.
“I was looking forward to doing another interview, but then I didn’t hear anything for weeks! I didn’t give up hope though. I knew that if I kept applying and I had the qualification, I would get a job.”
Finally, in January, things started to happen.
“I received a call inviting me to an interview. I was thrilled. Then I got another call asking me to come for an interview – on the same day! I thought it was a mistake and they had doubled up on their calls, but no, it was two different schools, so I had one interview in the morning and one in the afternoon.
“After the morning interview, I was fairly sure they were going to offer me the job, because it was a very positive experience, but I decided to go to the second interview, just in case.
“I was very pleased when the first school offered me a position as an Integration Aide. I’ve only been there for a short time but already I feel settled and I enjoy my job so much.”
“I love working with children and young people and being an Education Aide really allows me to make a difference to young lives.
“I would definitely encourage others to take this course. It was really enjoyable and I learned so much. Even though I struggled at times, I had a lot of support and encouragement from the staff at Prace and it was very satisfying to complete it.
Visit our webpage to find our more about Prace’s Certificate III in Education Support course.