Early childhood education continues to be work dominated by women, but with 36,000 new job openings predicted in Australia in the next three years, Hayden Watts has bucked the trend to forge a career in a growing industry.
Close to completing a diploma in childhood education, the TAFE NSW student has earned himself a traineeship at Cudal Community Children’s Centre, where he said being a minority is no hindrance.
But realistically, to the children, I’m just another teacher – they don’t care if I’m male or femaleHayden Watts
“I am provided with so much help and support on a day-to-day basis from my female colleagues, it’s really encouraging,” Mr Watts said.
“But realistically, to the children, I’m just another teacher – they don’t care if I’m male or female.”
According to government statistics, only 3 per cent of positions at early learning centres are filled by men, who unlike Mr Watts, just aren’t looking towards pre-primary education as an option.
“I pursued a career in early childhood education because it has always been a passion and interest of mine to work with children and help with their learning development,” he said.
“[Primary education]...is the long-term goal, but for the time being I’m really enjoying seeing the children make and build friendships, setting up activities that help them learn, develop and grow, and seeing them use their imagination.”
Cudal Community Children’s Centre Director Stacey Roweth said the Manildra local was extremely popular with the children and had become an asset to the organisation.
“Hayden is a natural with the children and worked hard to understand all theory components of his qualification,” Ms Bird said.
This sentiment was echoed by TAFE NSW Early Childhood Education and Care Head Teacher Susan Bird.
“He has shown many great skills both at TAFE NSW and in the workforce and being male adds a different dimension to the workplace and the impact he can have on children,” she said.
“Hayden is a wonderful early childhood educator who has been a pleasure to teach and mentor.”
Mr Watts has been studying since 2017 and said the support he has received throughout his diploma has been instrumental in gaining employment at the children’s centre.
A spokesperson for TAFE NSW said it had responded to an increased demand for educators by offering courses online.
DO YOU WANT MORE ORANGE NEWS?
- Receive our free newsletters delivered to your inbox, as well as breaking news alerts. Sign up below …