Having taken the time to raise her three children before studying, Simone Dawson felt comfortable enrolling in UCOL’s National Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Care.
"I always enjoyed being around children and am a real people person but it wasn't until my friend suggested enrolling at UCOL that I really saw early childhood care as a career option," she says.
"It took some time for me to actually enrol and jump on the education train – but the solid foundation the programme offered fitted my lifestyle well."
Although having various jobs over the years, Simone felt encouraged by UCOL to give study in Early Childhood Education and Care a real go.
She says that with the support of her passionate lecturers she realised her true potential.
"My lecturers encouraged me to push myself and go further. They were a positive influence as they want you to succeed as much as you do."
Simone says a highlight was making great friends with a mutual goal. "We helped each other get to the finish line."
After completing the Certificate, Simone was inspired to build on her qualifications. She decided to continue her studies at UCOL with the Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education) programme, delivered in partnership with Open Polytechnic.
"With experienced lecturers who are passionate about what they do, their enthusiasm was infectious and fun, so it was an easy decision to continue my studies with UCOL."
Making the most of UCOL's fully resourced facilities and developing confidence Simone then applied for an Educator in Training position at the local Massey Childcare Centre.
"My application was successful and I am now working and studying, enjoying every minute of it."
During the holidays Simone works full time at the Centre. "Working here while studying has helped me associate the theory with what I'm doing."
What she enjoys most about the work is the children's curiosity. "I love knowing that I'm setting them up for learning for life."
Massey Child Care Centre is a community-based child care centre with nationally recognised, research-based programmes. The staff are all full-time, ensuring consistency and continuity, and the Centre is an Enviroschool.