26 July 2022

Damien's after school job opened the door to a flourishing career in childhood education

| Katrina Condie
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Damien Marais

Woden Community Service (WCS) Team Leader, Children’s Services Enrolments Damien Marais says his job is rewarding and interesting. Photo: Holly Williams.

Like many year 12 students, Damien Marais wasn’t sure what he wanted to do after finishing school, but when he was handed a pamphlet advertising casual educator positions with a non-profit organisation, he decided to give it a go.

Almost 10 years later, what started as an after school job has led to an exciting and rewarding career for Damien who has recently been appointed to the Team Leader, Children’s Services Enrolments position at Woden Community Service (WCS).

He hopes to inspire other school leavers to think outside the square and consider a career in early education and care.

“It wasn’t the direction I was planning, and I never thought I’d progress to where I am today, but my job has provided so many opportunities to learn and advance my career,” he said.

“When I started out working in after school care, while I was in year 12, I never thought I’d end up in a management role. It wasn’t something I’d considered.

“I don’t think young people realise the incredible opportunities the children’s services sector can offer them.”

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WCS is currently offering traineeships in children’s services, as well as casual child care educator and out of school hours care educator positions.

Damien said the traineeships would be ideal for young people or school leavers seeking a challenging and rewarding career.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity, and I would encourage people to go for it,” he said.

“When you’re working with children and families from different backgrounds, no two days are the same.

“There’s so many study and learning opportunities, and you learn a lot of skills that are transferable into the management sector.

“Working with children and different stakeholders that come in and provide activities for the children, has given me the tools to think on my feet and deal with some very complex situations.

“It’s been a really eye-opening experience.”

Damien has embraced every opportunity to study within the sector, and has attained a Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care, and a Diploma of Leadership and Management.

“I’m currently enrolled in a Bachelor of Business to increase my knowledge and further develop my skills in management,” he said.

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“There are many government-funded opportunities to study while you’re working, which is great.”

Over the past decade, Damien has watched children grow into young adults and said he had formed a bond with many of the families he had worked with.

“Children come in and they’re quiet and shy at first, then they connect with you and come out of their comfort zone,” he said.

“Some children face challenges making friends, and to see them flourish and friendships grow is amazing.

“Quite often I walk down the street and see young people that I’ve worked with over the years and it’s so great to see how they are getting on with their lives.

Children playing

There are currently opportunities available to work in out of school hours care with WCS. Photo: Woden Community Service.

“It’s really rewarding to know you played a part in their development.

“Each child is unique and their individuality should be fostered within the community.”

WCS Director of Children’s Services Vivienne Gould said Damien’s new role would bring with it some added responsibilities and tasks.

“Damien is an asset to children’s services and spends much of his time supporting families and staff with the enrolment and booking process,” she said.

If you have a passion for contributing your skills, knowledge and experience in your work, WCS is looking for exceptional candidates who are seeking a purposeful and valued role in community services. Check out the Job Opportunities page for current employment opportunities.

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