Australia’s ECEC sector is dominated by female employees with statistics from the Australian Government revealing that less than 3 per cent of all employees in the sector are male.
Currently employed as a childcare worker at SDN Beranga, an autism specific preschool in Rooty Hill, Mr Conneely enrolled in the qualification after beginning his career in the community services sector so he could follow his passion to educate the next generation.
“I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, but I did not think I was academic-minded enough to study a degree. I got to the age of 28 and decided it was now or never. I chose to enrol in the degree at TAFE NSW as I thought the hands-on learning environment would be better suited to me” he said.
At first, he said, Bachelor studies were a challenge, as he hadn’t needed to write academically, or use critical thinking for some time, but these challenges were soon overcome with the support of the lecturers at TAFE.
“My teachers really inspired me to push myself above and beyond what I thought I was capable of and I was able to use the skills I was learning, while studying the degree, in my role as a childcare worker” Mr Conneely added.
TAFE NSW Early Childhood Education and Care Head teacher, Melinda Barsoum said when Patrick started studying at TAFE NSW Nirimba was “very unsure of himself and whether higher education study was for him.” However, he has since gone on to be one of the top students, she said.
“Patrick’s perseverance and continuous interest to learn everything he can about early childhood education has allowed him to further develop his passion” Ms Barsoum said, saying Mr Conneely is “extremely passionate” about his chosen career.
Christine Zuvela said he was “an asset to SDN Beranga. He has demonstrated great strength to develop relationships with children and families, and program experiences that enhance children’s development in all areas and I have no doubt he’ll make a fantastic teacher.”
To further his goal of seeing more men in the sector, Mr Conneely recently completed his final research proposal on males working in ECEC.
Those interested in studying with TAFE through the TAFE NSW Early Entry Program can visit the website to find out more.
Patrick Conneely is studying his Bachelor of Early Childhood Education and Care at TAFE NSW Nirimba, and would love to have more men join the early childhood education and care (ECEC) profession alongside him.