Realise Your Potential

Chasing a new career path after 21 years in Early Education.


Kathy had been working in Early Childhood Services for more than 21 years. It had been a great job that helped her be with her three children as they grew up.

Her employment was full-time, and she was comfortable in her career. When her last child was finishing University, she became aware that it was her time for a change, to have a new interest.

She decided to leave her comfort zone and try something different. At first, it was all new and fresh, a different pace in the adult world outside of working with younger 3 to 5-year-old children. However, she seemed to be looking for a challenge, and not long after, she decided to re-educate herself.

She reached out locally and heard about John Henry Institute at St Agnes Catholic Parish in Port Macquarie. She enrolled in a Skill Set in Educational School-Based Support; this is the training required to be a Teacher’s Aide. Similar, yet still very different to her qualifications, it was a perfect career change.

Very soon after starting her study, she reached out to schools to see if there was work as a casual. There was a lot of work, and she quickly became employable as a casual worker for three local primary schools. She says,” The study, in the beginning, was very relevant, and as the units moved into observing older children from kinder to year six and working beside the teacher, it became more interesting and exciting to know she could help both the child to learn and the teacher to be supported. Conversations, curriculum, and intervention happen every day, making work interesting and fun”.

At 54 years of age, trying something different and the new experiences in the schools, Kathy has really embraced mature age learning, even if it is more towards ‘her’ end of working career. She says, “It has been wonderful and would recommend JHI for training and support for anyone seeking a new job or career change”.

“Go on, give something new a try; it’s worth it!”

A new sense of accomplishment at work.

My name is Nicole, and I was humbled to be nominated to join the Skill Set in Leadership and Management course that was delivered by John Henry Institute.

I work as a carer at St Agnes’ Care & Lifestyle at Emmaus. I really enjoy helping the residents and seeing them enjoy themselves.

One of my goals is to learn more about those living with dementia and how I can support them.

This course has taught me a new way to approach the people I work with, using the framework of problem-solving, which has resulted in finding better solutions. I am finding a new sense of personal accomplishment each shift by pairing skill levels to situations. The course has increased my awareness of the workplace’s inclusivity of people and cultures.

The teacher is great, approachable, friendly, and a great mentor. I got a lot out of her teaching method. Moving forward, I want to continue learning with more courses, so I have enrolled to complete the Certificate IV in Leadership and Management. I particularly want to focus on communication and improve my knowledge in this area.

I would highly recommend this course. It has given me a different approach to improving my work outlook, task prioritization, and approach to work colleagues.

Significant impact on my life and career direction.

I have greatly appreciated the opportunities and experience I have gained during my time at JHI.

Participating in the Cert III in Individual Support and with the support and feedback from JHI staff, I have been successful in gaining employment in the aged care industry, which has had a significant impact on my life and career direction.

I would like to thank all the JHI staff involved and, in particular, all of my trainers for continuing to provide the course in such a difficult time during the COVID pandemic.