If you are looking to change career now the children
are here, you may need additional qualifications. Studying
whilst you are home with the children can be as difficult
as working, especially if you have to physically attend
classes. However, there are options that can make it
easier. As lot of courses are available through distance
education with all, or the majority of the studying
done at home either via the internet or through study
material sent to your house.
Other classes have a mix of home based study, plus
some classes or practical experience. For example, I
completed my Child Care Certificate III, through a distance
education course. In order to gain the certificate,
I had to complete a certain number of hours of practical
experience. I was able to do this through work experience
at my local pre-school, and through my own family day
care business, so there was minimum disruption for my
Other education providers offer child care facilities
while you attend lectures, or an option to attend lectures
of an evening when your partner can potentially help
with the children.
One of the hardest things about studying when you have
kids, is finding the time. You already have a full time
job and you might well already be struggling to find
the time to do the cleaning, or mow the lawn, let alone
sit down and concentrate on some study. If you are committed
to your education, you might need to hire a cleaner,
and get someone else to mow the lawn, in order to make
this a priority. An hour of two in the evening, and
some time at the weekend could well be sufficient.
I had an agreement with the other half at the weekend
that he would take the children for two or three hours
while I studying, and I would then give him two or three
hours to go to the gym or work on his websites. We sacrificed
a bit of family time, but the kids were still happy
and I was able to finish the course.
How do you find the right training
There are hundreds of training institutes available
to you. The trick is to find the right one. The traditional
education centres such as universities and TAFE are
available for mature students, but there are also a
wide range of courses available from private training
I would suggest you look at the courses provided by
your local training institutions, and also search on
the web for the specific course or qualification you
One thing to be careful of is whether the course is
accredited or not.
Accreditation is the quality assurance process used
to formally recognise national qualifications. For example,
if I wanted to do a child care course and chose one
that was not accredited by the government, then my child
care qualification would not be recognised if I went
for a job in that area. In NSW, the Vocational Education
and Training Accreditation Board (VETAB) is responsible
for accrediting vocational education and training courses.
There are some areas such as Life Coaching where there
is currently (as of 2008) no nationally accredited course.
There are lots of Life Coaching courses available, so
in order to choose the best one for you, you need to
look at whether the training provider is accredited,
as opposed to the course itself. As well as course accreditation,
VETAB is also responsible for regulation of Registered
Training Organisations (RTOs) in NSW.
An accredited course can lead to a Statement of Attainment
or a qualification under the Australian Qualifications
Framework (AQF). Only registered training organisations
are entitled to issue qualifications for accredited
Details of all RTOs, recognised qualifications and
accredited courses can be found on the National
Training Information Service (NTIS) website at www.ntis.gov.au.
Finding out more about adult education
options in Australia
Department of Education and Training
Each state has a department of education and training.
The amount and relevance of the information on their
web sites varies by state, but some useful links are:
of Education and Training
Click on Adult and Higher Education or Training and
Industry or TAFE NSW, to find relevant information.
Australia Department of Education and Training
Under 'Training A-Z' you will find links for Adult
and Community Education, TAFE, Training Accreditation
Department of Education and Training
Look under 'Parents and Community', 'Beyond School
16+', to find information on TAFE, Adult Community Education,
TAFE, RTOs and other useful links.
Other states websites are more focused on education
Each State also has a TAFE website which lists the
courses, qualifications, study options (distance or
not) and locations e.g. TAFE
NSW or TAFE
SA, TAFE QLD, TAFE VIC
Community colleges are another alternative. They offer
a wide range of general interest courses as well as
nationally accredited courses. Here you might find a
first aid course, or an IT course, or how to set up
a small business or run a bed and breakfast. You may
not get a recognised qualification, but you could learn
some valuable skills that will help you decide which
path to take with your career.
One example of a Distance Education Provide is Cengage
Education, formally know as Thomson Education.
Another is the Open
Training and Education Network (OTEN), part of TAFE