Is it possible to have a career you love? Adriana thinks so | HerCanberra

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Is it possible to have a career you love? Adriana thinks so

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At the beginning of 2018, Adriana was a Spanish teacher looking for a career change…

She was interested in working with children but had no experience. Seeing the advertisement for Communities@Work’s Ascend Program changed her life. It was exactly what she needed, and it didn’t require any previous experience.

Especially attracted by the hands-on practical experience, support from expert mentors and the opportunity to complete a professional qualification while working, she applied.

Upon successful completion of the application process, Adriana was accepted into the program as a full-time paid trainee and began her journey working in the Early Childhood Education and Care sector as an Educator-In-Training.

The Ascend program works across two facets: training and employment. The training component of the program is delivered by Communities@Work’s Registered Training Organisation (RTO) – The Centre of Professional Learning and Education.  

“The RTO was very helpful, and the trainers were available throughout, especially if I had questions,” says Adriana. “Sometimes, I had to read twice because of the language barrier, but the trainers were kind and dedicated, and always provided the help that I needed.”

In Ascend, qualified and experienced trainers deliver face-to-face training, online learning and mentoring, while trainees are given practical experience while earning an income working with children in a range of Communities@Work’s leading early education and care centres across the ACT.

Adriana found she was fully supported while studying for her qualification and working in the early education and care centres.

“The Ascend Program helped me grow as an educator. I was able to work at the same time as the learning, which made sense to me. I think it helped me gain a broad perspective – working and learning together, reading and practicing at the same time—and it was a journey I really enjoyed.”

After successfully completing the program, Adriana was employed by Communities@Work. She found her experience so fulfilling, she decided to undertake further education and recently completed her Diploma with Communities@Work. She is currently working as an educator at the Narrabundah Early Childhood Service and is in charge of the toddler room.

There are many benefits to working in the early education and care sector. A career as an educator is satisfying and rewarding and makes a real difference in a child’s early years. Put simply, high quality Early Childhood Education and Care makes a significant and lasting impact on children throughout their lives, developing resilience, well-being and a foundation for lifelong learning, while enhancing employment and economic prospects.

“I feel proud to be an educator,” says Adriana. “We were working through COVID-19, with child care being essential work. And of course, it’s a beautiful experience—working with children—they’re full of stories, laughter and love, and they bring so much positivity in your life. Not to mention that working with a community organisation, you know you’re giving back to society, and that is a rewarding feeling.”

Adriana studying during her Ascend program in 2018.

Furthermore, the benefits of working in the sector extend to career progression. As Carla Scalia, Communities@Work’s RTO Manager, puts it, for those motivated to take the next step like Adriana, there are many opportunities for further education and to progress their career.

“A Certificate III qualification is a stepping-stone to many future options, including child care centre management, working with children at risk, or as a pathway into teaching or other tertiary degrees,” she explains.

Trainees for the Ascend Program come from diverse backgrounds in terms of gender, age and experience; some are school leavers, others are looking for a career change. When asked what advice she’d give to people who might consider applying for the Ascend program, Adriana laughs and says “don’t doubt, don’t think twice. It doesn’t matter what age you are or where you are in life—don’t hesitate to begin this beautiful experience of working with children.”

Applications for next Ascend Program intake close on Monday 19 October. Find out more about this unique opportunity to earn while you learn and kickstart your career in Early Childhood Education and Care here.

Communities@Work is Canberra’s largest local provider of children’s services. 

As a not-for-profit community organisation, Communities@Work understands the significant and lasting impact that high quality Early Childhood Education and Care makes on children throughout their lives, and as the winner of the ACT Large Employer of the Year at the ACT Training Awards for the last two years, Communities@Work has demonstrated a strong and ongoing commitment to developing high quality educators in the early childhood education and care sector.

You can find out more about Communities@Work at


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