Trainer Q&A: Nazia Hussain
Upskilled Training Coordinator
Nazia Hussain is an Upskilled training coordinator and student support officer. She has almost 5 years of experience as a senior trainer and assessor, and has worked previously in different roles including as a child care centre director. We spoke to her about the child care industry in Australia, and why it’s such a great industry to get into.
When you studied your qualifications, (Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care (CHC50113), Diploma of Education Support) how did you find learning about the industry?
I found it really interesting, and unlike other courses my study was actually fun. Work placement allowed me to step into the industry and learn so much more, as well as giving me experience to complete practical tasks.
Upskilled’s online Education and Care courses include the requirement for a vocational placement in an Early Childhood Education setting. My work placement gave me hands on skills that I have gained for life.
What do you love about the childcare industry in Australia?
Firstly, I love how we have quality child care facilities for children and families in Australia. We have opportunities for non-working families to have their children in care as well; not just working families, as some other countries may have. We also are very lucky to have families supported by our government to place their children in care.
In child care specifically, I mostly love that in Australia we have a very high standard of care provided for children. It's not just a baby sitting service. Children's learning and development is nurtured.
Their culture and their identity is embraced. We are very diverse and inclusive of all cultures and The Early Years Learning Framework allows us to be guided by "Belonging, being and becoming," where children develop interests and construct their own identities and understanding of the world.
What are some of the day to day tasks of a childcare centre director (I see you had that role at one stage).
Depending on how big your centre is, your roles may vary. As a centre director you organise staffing and rostering and lunch time breaks. You manage the day to day tasks which include communicating with families, organising inductions for new enrolments, managing payments and fees, ensuring the daily routine is running smoothly, managing children on medications for the day, organising or managing any care plans for children, and things like that.
Tasks that are more management directed might include: maintenance, emergency situations, ensuring policies and procedures are up to date, interviewing staff, completing staff appraisals, providing parents with information notices for the week or day, organising staff meetings, parent/teacher nights, monitoring the premises and log books of children being signed in and out, working on budgets etc.
In the role of Centre Manager there is also an administration side of things, which includes sending emails, networking, liaising with parents, sorting out enrolments documents, filing, logging, checking curriculum, reports, children's port folios etc. So overall there is a lot of responsibility involved in being a centre director but it is definitely the best learning experience I've ever had.
What is it like managing other staff in childcare? What are some of the challenges, what are some of the great parts?
Managing staff can be challenging in any industry. There can be ethical dilemmas involved, conflicts of interest, personality clashes and many different things.
Some of the challenges I have personally experienced are when staff become friendly with management. Occasionally, when it comes a point where you need to raise concerns with that staff member, it might become difficult because of the closeness or friendships that have been created.
As a manager it is difficult because you want to be approachable, supportive, and make your staff feel comfortable around you, but there is a fine line between making your staff feel comfortable and “too comfortable”, so this is something that managers have to be mindful of when you’re managing staff. You need to be able to work out that balance.
There are however so many amazing experiences that I as a manager have had. I have guided staff, helped them to learn and reach their full potential. Some staff have been so inspired they have studied further and have found themselves in management positions as well - not always within the same company - but being a part of someone’s learning journey is amazing.
Watching someone grow, and reach their goals is powerful, and knowing that you had a hand in it is truly an inspiring and rewarding experience.
Why is working in childcare a fulfilling role?
Woking with children is the most amazing thing that I have done. They are innocent, enthusiastic, creative, and free souls that bring so much joy and knowledge to your life. Working with children has taught me so much and given me so much patience and resilience.
Watching children grow, learn and build their interests and character is so amazing. Some children come to day care five days a week, and as educators we see them just as much as their families - most of their day is with us - that relationship and connection that is built with children during that time is priceless.
Being loved by them and seeing how they trust you as an educator and allowing you to be part of their world is so fulfilling. Knowing that you have nurtured them and helped them grow and learn is such a fulfilling experience.
The industry is “professionalising” – back in 2012 the government brought in a minimum qualification requirement to work in childcare, and now all practitioners are better trained. Was this a good thing for the industry?
Definitely. As children's services has evolved, trained staff have the qualifications to understand and incorporate the Early Years Learning Framework into their care for children. The Early Years Learning Framework has a strong emphasis on play-based learning. The framework also recognises the importance of communication and language (including early literacy and numeracy) and social and emotional development which trained Educators will have knowledge in.
Does childcare help prepare children for the best start in life?
Of course. The first five years of a child’s life are the most important years. Having a child in child care builds their development, their social skills, their identity and their character. It also builds their interests, physical and emotional skills, confidence & wellbeing. These skills are very important for every child, and they help with their transition to school.
What are some of the challenges of the job?
As the job is really hands-on it can be draining at times. Working with children and becoming attached to them can be hard sometimes as well, when children transition to different rooms and to school. Working with parents and families can be hard as well at times.
What are 3 traits you need to work in childcare?
- Definitely patience is important when working with children and families.
- Good communication skills are very important.
- And decision making abilities - are my top three.
Why is studying childcare a great option for a potential student?
Studying child care is a great option for any potential student. It's a fun, creative and innovative course, which is full of practical experiences. These courses gives you hands-on knowledge and experience.
Studying education and care online is a great pathway to further study ( for example, in primary, secondary, or tertiary education) and overall, Upskilled’s courses are jam-packed with so much knowledge and so many skills. It's where I started, and now I'm Trainer and Assessor at an amazing college - and I am sharing my experience with you!
Ready to start your career in Early Childhood Education and Care?
If you’ve been thinking about working in Education and/or Child Care and know that you can personally make a difference to people’s lives, head to this page to receive a course guide and a consultation with an Enrolment Consultant.