Charles Darwin University (CDU) is helping to support local employment in Tennant Creek through the delivery of childcare training to eight students, using remote technology.
For the past two months, Alice Springs-based Childrens Services lecturer Amanda Cawthorne-Crosby has been providing weekly telephone tutorial support to the certificate III and diploma students, who are employed at the Tennant Creek Childcare Centre.
“I feel like I’ve known them for a very long time,” she said.
In an exciting development, Amanda will next term come face to face with her students for the first time, with the help of video-conferencing technology being piloted by CDU at the childcare centre.
Sitting in on a telephone tutorial session in Tennant Creek, the already strong relationship between lecturer and students was tangible.
Amanda said she acknowledges the difficulties remote students face and she’s hoping the video-conferencing facility will make the students feel even more supported.
“Returning to study is a quantum leap anyway and when you’re in an isolated area it requires 200 per cent more effort.”
The Tennant Creek students will join their counterparts at the Alice Springs Campus for a weekend workshop in August to tackle some of the more challenging units of study in a group environment.
“This is me saying to them I know how hard this is and let’s look at alternatives to keep them going,” she said.
The childcare centre’s Administrator, Tracey Konidaris has been so inspired by the students’ progress that she has now enrolled herself at CDU.
“It’s been precious. It’s probably the first time something like this has happened for a while and it’s created a humungous momentum,” she said.
Tracey said like many organisations and businesses in Tennant Creek, the childcare centre struggled to attract and retain qualified employees, many of whom come from interstate and leave after a short time.
“These students are locals and they end up contributing more to the town through their training and employment so they want to stay longer and that’s fantastic.”
Tracey said she hopes someone trained locally will eventually go on to become the childcare centre’s director.
“It’s about investing in our own and reaping the rewards as a community.”
Visit the Tennant Creek Centre website.