After 12 years away from the workforce, Narelle embraced the challenge of learning again

Early Childhood student NarelleNarelle Mason had been a full-time mum for 12 years when she decided that it was time to focus on herself again and her love for children. Before having her children Narelle had worked as a primary school teacher, but now she realised she needed to update her qualifications.

“I came down to Chisholm and learned about the courses, and within 10 minutes I was signed up to the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care,” she says.

Narelle chose Chisholm for its smaller class sizes, where she could get to know fellow classmates and they could bounce ideas off each other in class. Narelle found the class massively supportive, with a number of other mature-aged students, and felt right in her element within the first couple of weeks. She also found the staff brilliant.

“No question was silly,” she says. “The teachers were happy to explain things over and over to give us a greater understanding. They also got to know us personally really well, so we’ve all developed a strong connection”.

Despite her background as a primary school teacher, Narelle couldn’t believe how much everything had changed since she started teaching 20 years ago.

“The course is very relevant. Right from the start, you do a weekly placement that confirms if the course is for you or not, and gives you an excellent insight into how the industry works. The course also goes into great detail on the administrative side of things too, such as risk assessments.”

The course took Narelle 18 months to complete but she is now qualified to teach in a primary or kindergarten environment. “I found a job before I’d actually graduated! I’m really excited – it’s a brilliant centre too.”

Beyond the excitement of a new job and career in front of her, highlights of the course for Narelle were the friendships she made, being back in a learning and education environment, and the feeling of confidence these brought.

“The course gave me greater self-belief that I could do something outside of being mum after being at home for so long.” Narelle is confident that other people in a similar position can have a positive experience like she did, and her advice to other mature aged students is simple: “Don’t be scared to take a leap of faith and be prepared to have a go!” .

View our Early Childhood and Care courses