Katarina’s Educate, Inspire, Excel journey

16 March 2021

With the Educate, Inspire, Excel (EIE) program passing the six month mark, we wanted to highlight and celebrate some of our incredible early childhood education and care trainees. This is Katarina’s story.

Although 2020 was difficult for us all, Katarina faced a more difficult situation than many. Having only just moved to Canberra on a partner visa when COVID-19 hit, her in-laws’ ill health resulted in her taking care of them in their home in Sydney instead of pursuing her own career path.

“I was happy to support my husband as one of the carers, especially for my father-in-law,” Katarina remarked.

“He was always gentle and appreciative with what we did. Although he had dementia, didn’t remember what my name was, he was always lovely to me.”

Sadly, both of her husband’s parents passed away within four months, and Katarina spent much of 2020 caring first for them and then her husband as he dealt with his grief, compounded by the many difficulties of the COVID-19 crisis.

As she began to think of her own life path again, Katarina realised that the joy she had experienced in being able to care for her father-in-law could translate into a caring career.

“I was affected by an unfortunate situation, but I would like to channel my positive personality traits to something that I can do, such as caring for others,” she said. “Moreover, I would like to be part of the Australian community, to be accepted and contribute to it.”

When the Multicultural Employment Service told Katarina about the Educate, Inspire, Excel program, she realised she could use this passion for care, combined with what she had learnt in her teaching degree in Indonesia, as an early childhood educator. She contacted YWCA Canberra and worked with our EIE staff to register. The team then found her a role in an appropriate early childhood service.

“Within a month, they updated me that I had to prepare for an interview.” Not long later, Katarina had a job as a trainee educator.

Katarina’s employer, Cassandra of Goodstart Early Learning, found the process of bringing on a trainee through EIE very easy and said the YWCA Canberra EIE team “has been a dream to work with, organising Katarina’s interview and coming out frequently to visit; it’s made the whole process of having a trainee a lot smoother.”

“For my centre specifically, we have quite a high rate of Diploma educators or above, so it means we have the capacity to share our knowledge with someone starting out in the sector and can offer support to them as they grow into themselves as an educator,” Cassandra said.

A few months into her traineeship, Katarina is thoroughly enjoying the combination of studies and real work experience. “Whenever I do my assignment, I can relate the questions to the real practice I do at work. My seniors, including my room leader and Centre Director, are supportive to me, giving me tips on how to deal with my daily routine and help with my assignments.”

And she is finding the role extremely rewarding. “I look forward to seeing the children every day because of their lively energy. This job is challenging and enjoyable at the same time. You support young children to be independent and, at the same time, you are part of their development process. Every day is unique and different. I am humbled to be involved in moulding the great future generation of Australia.”

This fresh passion is a major reason employers have told us they enjoy having trainees. “Katarina has been such a valuable addition to our team,” Cassandra said. “She’s learning and growing so much every day. Her calm, caring temperament means she is adored by children, families and fellow educators alike!”

And with this new passion and career direction, Katarina is already considering her future in the early childhood education and care sector, with goals to become a senior within the service and possibly certify her Indonesian teaching degree or apply her postgraduate study in public relations to the sector.

Whatever she decides, our EIE team is so pleased to see Katarina’s progress and will support her throughout her Certificate III.

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