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Fifteen students received awards from the Hunter TAFE Foundation this week that will provide much-needed financial support as they pursue their education and career goals with TAFE NSW.
The awards are possible through the generous donations made by individuals and organisations across the Hunter and Central Coast and were presented at TAFE NSW’s Hunter Valley Hotel Academy in Kurri Kurri on Tuesday 13 June.
New Lambton’s, Tim Lindsay-Brown received the annual KU Children's Services Award for his commitment to excellence. Tim will complete his Diploma of Early Childhood Education at TAFE NSW Glendale next month, and has been working full-time as a Childhood Educator at My Kindy in Garden Suburb for the past year.
“It feels really good to receive this award. I really do like my job, what I’m doing every day, and the supportive experience I have had at TAFE NSW from my teachers who are such great educators. The award really is the cherry on top,” said Mr Lindsay-Brown.
Tim found his path into early childhood education after years working as a civil engineer and studying at university. After work started to “dry-up for undergraduate engineers” Tim took up a part-time job in youth work that sparked his interest in a career working with children.
“A lot of coincidences led me into this field. I enrolled in the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education at TAFE NSW while I was still studying engineering at university and doing part-time youth work. About two months into the course I decided that was it, and dropped my engineering degree to focus on a career in early childhood education,” he said.
“My background in civil engineering has been very handy. It equips me well to teach children how to build things and understand concepts such as water pathways. For example we recently made a hanging garden from a recycled palette. The children love it, they want to jump in and have a go. 
“Children know what they want to learn and can generally figure out how to do it. Sometimes they just need a little help here and there, but I really enjoy watching them learn. This then helps me know how to approach learning activities the next day, or the next week with the children in my care,” he said.
Tim said the ability to work full-time during his studies thanks to TAFE NSW’s flexible online delivery of early childhood education qualifications was “perfect”. Flexible course delivery allows students to learn on the job, and combines weekly online tutorials, individual project work and assessment, and regular four-week practicals at intervals throughout.   
Early childhood education is traditionally a female-dominated sector, but Tim said: “I think the parents and teachers really appreciate the different perspective I bring. It helps children understand how males behave, interact and engage in a really natural learning environment.”
After almost 10 years of study between civil engineering and early childhood education, Tim is looking forward to developing his career in childcare and learning from his colleagues and the children in his care who “inspire” him every day.
Hunter TAFE Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation working with Hunter business, education and community leaders committed to supporting education and training by providing financial support to TAFE NSW students who are experiencing either personal or financial hardship to assist them in completing their studies.

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