Indigenous Trainees Educating the Next Generation of Young People

Indigenous Trainees Educating the Next Generation of Young People

Indigenous Trainees Educating the Next Generation of Young People

Good Start Early Learning Centre in Flemington, Melbourne believe educating young children about Australia’s first nations people is paramount to their learning. By taking on proud Aboriginal Woman, Tina Payne, last year as their trainee, they saw it as an opportunity not only to support a young person in finding a career pathway but a way for the children and the staff to learn and embrace Aboriginal culture and traditions.

“It’s something we have never done before. Taking on an Aboriginal trainee at the centre,” said Good Start Early Learning’s Centre Manager, Priyanka Minhas.

“We didn’t have much knowledge or experience with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities and culture and as an organisation it’s something we want to focus on in line with our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) as we feel it is important for young children to know about the culture, history and traditions. 

So, having the wonderful Tina in our team has been amazing. She has taught us so much and she has taught the children so much,” she added.

Tina is originally from South Australia and moved to Melbourne 2 years ago, having been brought up in foster care as a child, caring for young children has always been a passion of hers.

“I really love to spend time with children, I love to care for them and nurture them. I want to be a positive influence on their life and to always ensure they have someone to connect with and talk to. That connection is important for their upbringing,” said Tina

“I took on a traineeship in 2019 because I saw it as the perfect opportunity to create a career in something I really love and at the same time I was able to study a Certificate III in Childhood Education.

Although I am exhausted at the end of the day, it never feels like a job because I enjoy spending time with the children so much,” she added.

After completing her traineeship this year, Tina was offered ongoing employment at the centre. Her supervisor, Priyanka and her colleagues have praised her practices.

“Tina is just wonderful and she has this fantastic hands-on approach with children,” said Priyanka.

 “From day one she wanted to be connected with the children and she wanted to share her knowledge and practices with the staff and the children.

I’ve had my daughter experience her practice as well, as she has been one of the educators for her, and when she came home, she would tell me all the interesting things she learnt from Tina, the cultural songs she would sing, the stories she would tell.  

Children completely gravitated towards Tina and she has this genuine and nurturing nature that really inspires us.”

Through her traineeship Tina has blossomed from a shy young lady to a confident Educator who takes charge when she has to and demonstrates qualities of a leader.

“I started the traineeship very reserved and would really only talk to my own family members,” said Tina.

Now, I feel like nothing is holding me back. I have the confidence to talk to children, staff and parents and to take the lead and do all the things I thought I couldn’t do.

Through my traineeship I have really realised my potential.”

For Priyanka, and the staff at Good Start Early Learning they too have developed and gained new skills since taking on Tina.

“Taking on Tina has influenced our RAP plan and influenced our philosophy as an organisation. We have taken on cultural awareness training and have now moved into this phase of awareness with a much deeper understanding.

“Taking on a trainee is the perfect way to learn, to expand your understanding and to broaden your knowledge.

We have grown so much thanks to Tina and at the same time we have supported her through her career journey and in turn, supported the Indigenous community a as a whole,” she added.


Learn more about our work in the Indigenous space here.

DATE: 25th November 2020

IMAGE: Tina pictured here (middle) with the centre’s two directors, Priyanka Minhas & Sarah Pentecost.

AUTHOR: Marissa Pagliarello