Can you move sideways in your career and still love it? Chloe thinks so   | HerCanberra

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Can you move sideways in your career and still love it? Chloe thinks so  

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With the so-called Great Resignation upon us, many people may be looking around for new opportunities.

If you feel like you’ve hit a bit of a ceiling with your current role, or are questioning whether you’ve found your calling, it might be time to look at other opportunities to progress your career. But changing course might involve study or training options and it can be hard to find a solution that will fit in around your work.

But what if you could do both?

Chloe Brewer found herself doing just that when she joined Communities at Work almost a decade ago. She started at the organisation as a university student doing a placement at its Richardson Child Care and Education Centre, alongside her studies to become a primary school teacher.

Since then, she has moved within the organisation’s various services, from educator, to leadership roles in long day care and out of school hours care, to currently working as a Trainer/Assessor at its Registered Training Organisation, The Centre of Professional Learning and Education (CPLE).

“Soon after I completed my placement, I was offered a full-time job at the Richardson Child Care and Education Centre. After some consideration, I decided to take the opportunity. And I’m the sort of person that doesn’t want to jump into something where it’s a closed door. So, I researched Communities at Work and looked at how many different opportunities there might be if I joined the organisation,” says Chloe.

She learned the award-winning community organisation offered careers across diverse areas like children’s services, seniors and disability services, and community support services, alongside corporate roles in human resources, finance, and ICT. Hoping to one day be working as a teacher or trainer, Chloe was particularly intrigued that Communities at Work also delivered vocational education and training at CPLE.

“They offered to help with my studies, and the manager was really supportive as well, and said she would mentor me so I would get leadership experience,” says Chloe.

Chloe started working full-time at Communities at Work as a trainee educator, completing the Diploma in Early Childhood Education, and then progressed to team leader of a preschool room. Then with Communities at Work’s sponsorship, she studied a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education, and was given ample support to complete her studies and placements.

In 2016, Chloe went on maternity leave. When she returned to work, she got to expand her experience even more with a role working across both the organisation’s Out of School Hours Care (before and after school care) services and Early Childhood Centres (long day care).

“That was great because I had always wanted to explore that interest of working with the primary age children, and I hadn’t had a lot of that yet, and I absolutely loved it,” says Chloe.

“Communities at Work supported that passion I had to one day be a teacher, and I got to fulfil that need without having to leave the organisation.”

In 2017 Chloe was offered the opportunity to expand into a new direction yet again, this time as a Trainer/Assessor with CPLE. She loves the role, training educators-to-be (just like she once was) and has worked there ever since.

“Career opportunities in the organisation are plenty. You can move not only upwards, but also sideways in your career. You could start as an educator but who knows where you might end up in a few years,” says Chloe.

And this is true not just for Chloe but many other employees like her. In fact, the organisation’s CEO, Lee Maiden, was once an educator with the organisation – along with several members of its Executive team, including the Director for Children’s Services and their Director for Social Programs and Volunteering (Community Support Services).

Communities at Work is the three-time winner of the ‘Large Employer of the Year’ at the ACT Training Awards, and its CPLE team delivers vocational education and training in early childhood and business sectors.

It offers flexible and remote learning, personalised training plans, one-to-one trainer support, blended theoretical and practical study, and a variety of funded study options. While training with CPLE can lead to a diverse range of career options elsewhere, there are also ample opportunities within Communities at Work.

CPLE is focused on “growing their own”, and there are potential employment opportunities with Communities at Work’s six diverse program areas or in organisational support or corporate roles. So, training can lead to an enviable career, just like it did for Chloe.

The CPLE currently has limited places available to study a Certificate III (CHC30121) or a Diploma (CHC50113) in Early Education and Care fee-FREE under JobTrainer*. There are also rolling intakes throughout the year for both qualifications and a Certificate III in Business (BSB30120) qualification.


*JobTrainer is a jointly funded initiative of the Commonwealth, state and territory governments.  

Communities at Work is a Registered Training Organisation (RTO 88148) trading as the Centre of Professional Learning and Education, commonly known as “CPLE.”  

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