Diploma of Community Services an interview with student Jacqueline

Community Services is a diverse sector with many different career pathways a couple of examples include Community Care Manager and Community Development worker. When you undergo this qualification you will gain the skills and knowledge required to successfully support clients within the community.

You will learn how to communicate with a range of diverse people and organisations, learn reflective practice, plan and development of programs, participate in group work and the fundamentals of case management. Most of all you will learn how to assist people in the community to live their best lives.

We recently met with Jacqueline who is currently completing a Diploma of Community Services and a placement at the Cire Community Hub to discuss experiences while studying and on placement. Read the full interview below.

Q: What made you decide to study the Diploma of Community Services?
A: I have always been passionate about helping others. When I was 17 I became involved in community work; however, I felt I was too young or inexperienced. After gaining some life experience, I’ve decided to return to my passion and take this course to help positively impact the community.
Q: If you could give new students of the Diploma of Community Services course two pieces of advice about studying, what would it be?
A: Firstly, I would suggest exploring different areas of the Community Services sector and gain an understanding of which direction you might like to take your course; community development, housing services, family services, etc.
Then I would say to do your best in submitting assignments on time. If you begin to feel as though you are falling behind, speak with your trainers and support network.
Q: You chose to complete your placement at the Cire Community hub. Could you tell us how long your placement is and why you chose Cire?
A: I have been on placement at the Cire Community Hub for six months now, and I’m extremely happy with my choice. Cire has an excellent reputation and offers various programs and services that I was excited to learn about. I knew it would be a fantastic experience to see how community programs are developed and managed first-hand while being supported by other team members and volunteers.
Q: What kind of tasks do you undertake during your placement time?
A: Just as an indication, here are some of the things I have done here at Cire and taking some knowledge with me to my next Placement.
During my placement with Cire I have had the opportunity to work on a number of projects and engage with community members. I have taken cooking classes with Cire’s Everyday Learners, developed and managed a Spanish conversation class and built programs for primary school-aged children to encourage them to socialise with others during a challenging year.
While on placement, I have also gained computer literacy and problem-solving skills. Thank you, Cire for allowing me to complete my placement here.

For more information about Cire’s Diploma of Community Services click here.

Age has no barriers when it comes to education

At the young age of 16 Sara Jessett (above right) completed her Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care with Cire Training and was on her way to following her dream of a career working with children.

“My journey started simply with an interest in being around children. I began studying my certificate III in ECEC after doing a short work experience at a local preschool. From that work experience I thought I’d like to try studying it. I started with a 6 month certificate III course which was a great way to do it. I enjoyed studying the subject, so I decided to take the next step and do the diploma.” Sara

Discussions with one of her trainers, Anja Laukart at Cire Training, led Sara to consider a different learning delivery mode for her diploma – a traineeship.

In an early childhood setting, a trainee has opportunities to put into practice what they are learning through hands-on experience with the children. This leads to building their confidence, self-esteem and independence with other educators at the workplace and with the families using the facility.

To undertake a diploma through a traineeship, a student needs to be employed for a minimum 13 hours a week, in a permanent part time or full time position; the workplace and trainee need to sign up with an apprenticeships centre as the workplace is eligible for financial incentives; plus they need to select a training organisation to train (teach) and assess the trainee.

Keeping all this in mind, Sara had to find a workplace willing to invest all the above and also one that was not discouraged by her young age. Would a childcare facility employ a person so young to fulfil their dream?

Cuddly Bear Childcare and Kinder in Heathmont were keen to employ Sara, as she showed a lot of potential while doing her placement at the service during her studies in Certificate III Early Childhood Education and Care.

“It doesn’t matter what age you are. If you show interest and a passion for what you do and have a willingness to learn, then you’ll be remembered.” Sara

Age is not a barrier to work in the industry, as long as the worker has the qualifications or is working towards them. The definition in regards to age in Children’s services regulation 2009 states:

In the case of a person who is aged under 18 years, (a staff member) means a person who—

  1. is employed or has been appointed or engaged to be responsible for the care or education of children at the children’s service; and
  2. is under the direct supervision of a qualified staff member who is aged 18 years or over.

It is essential for all trainees to be provided with a mentor at the workplace who can support the trainee through the learning journey. Sara had a wonderful mentor, Lorraine Clement (above left), who supported her throughout the whole traineeship. Lorraine took Sara on the journey and showed here all the things she could achieve.

Sara was also well supported by her trainer and assessor, Anja.

“Anja came out to visit me once a month at the centre. She was so supportive and encouraged me to work towards the best practice and helped me manage my study and work by setting goals.” Sara

Sara successfully completed her diploma with a high distinction in early 2016, allowing her to continue further studies into the future. She is still employed at Cuddly Bear Childcare and Kinder as a room leader considering the next step in her career.

 “As I have been taking on more responsibility at the centre it has been challenging, but it’s because I’ve felt supported and valued that I have continued. Every day I work with the skills and knowledge I learnt in my courses. When I step back, I realise how far I’ve come after just two years of studying and then working, it’s awesome.” Sara

Students like Sara have gone on to achieve great things in this rewarding sector. If you think a traineeship would work for you click here to find out more.

If a traineeship isn’t an option then check out our class room delivery courses in Early Childhood Education and Care or call 1300 835 235 to speak to one of our team members.

Keeping it real – ECEC Training Dolls session

On a visit to our Mt Evelyn campus we found a lot going on in the Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) class. The day was all about simulation as the students were able to care for an infant during class, well not an infant in the human form, a training doll to be precise. The students were able to put themselves in real life situations as these state of the art dolls cried, slept, needed changing and got hungry just like the real thing.

Their tutor, Anja Laukart explained that over the years students were limited when it came to on hands experience with infants, so these training dolls have become an important part of the curriculum. Students learn more when they are able to practise real life scenarios and as the saying goes “Practice makes perfect”. Here is what some of the students had to say about the experience.

“The dolls felt realistic, not fake at all. One of the reasons for this is they are the same body weight as an infant, I thoroughly enjoyed the session” – Rebecca

“Having to still participate in class while looking after the doll was a challenge, but I like challenges so the session really highlighted the importance of multi skilling. I really felt like I achieved something today it was great.” – Merabel

“It was comforting just to hold the baby, whoops I meant doll.” – Megan

If you’re interested in working with children and could see yourself making a career in the Children’s Services sector, contact us today to find out more about your options. We are currently taking enrolments in both Certificate III and Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care for Term 2, scheduled to commence in April.