Wait almost over for locals nominated for State Training Awards

Charlotte Rogan and Debadatta Paul at Kids Academy Glenmore Park. Photo: Melinda Jane.
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Local trainees have been named as some of the state’s best, as finalists in the NSW State Training Awards this year.

Charlotte Rogan went into childcare just short of two years ago, following the birth of her son, and already says there’s “nothing more rewarding”.

For her entire career, Rogan has trained under the Affinity Learning Academy – a fully-funded training program offering internal professional development programs and nationally recognised qualifications – completing her Certificate III, with her Diploma now underway whilst working at Kids Academy Claremont Meadows.

Upon finding out that she was named as a finalist in the State Training Awards, alongside her Glenmore Park colleague Debadatta Paul, Rogan said she was in complete shock, owing all of her success to her mentors at Affinity.

“It was a very overwhelming process to start with, because we weren’t expecting it, but it was nice. It’s nice to be recognised for our efforts, but because of them – our coaches,” she said.

Paul started in childcare when she first came to Australia in 2007, inspired by her previous work with underprivileged children in India.

Over the course of her time training with Affinity, Paul said the support she’s received has been unmatched, from helping her while she was overseas, to allowing her transfer from Kids Academy’s Penrith centre to Glenmore Park. Now, in her 16th year in childcare, she’s ready to pass on the favour.

“This is the only industry I want to stay in,” she said.

“I’m planning to do a Cert IV, which will give me more insight into the management side. There is so much more to learn, and I don’t want to stop myself now!”

Rogan agreed with this sentiment, aiming to undertake her early childhood degree and make room for more young people to start in the industry.

“The childcare sector is under a struggle at the moment, so if we don’t inspire the new staff, it’s going to struggle even more,” she said.

Two students from Caroline Chisholm College have also been named finalists in the State Training Awards, and are both in the running for Vocation Education and Training in Schools Student of the Year.

Year 12 student Montayah Astruc said that she’s made plenty of incredible memories whilst completing her qualification – one of which has been undergoing placement at Nepean Hospital.

Montayah Astruc and Katelyn Smith.

“I have always had a deep sense for helping others around me and wanting to make a difference, this VET course has enabled me to learn the fundamental practices and gain insight into the realities of working in a hospital environment,” she said.

Katelyn Smith, also in Year 12, was nominated for her outstanding work in Primary Industries.

“It’s an honour to be a finalist for the NSW Training Awards,” she said.

“I want to thank my mum, dad and brother for all their support and encouragement as well as my Primary Industries teacher, Mr [Geoffrey] Clerke, who has been an absolute credit to my learning.”

Winners will be announced at the Western Sydney & Blue Mountains Training Awards presentation night on Friday, June 30.

Cassidy Pearce

Cassidy Pearce is a news and entertainment journalist with The Western Weekender. A graduate of the University of Technology Sydney, she has previously worked with Good Morning Macarthur and joined the Weekender in 2022.

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