Australia wide, early childhood education is an industry dominated by female workers.
In fact, statistics from the Australian Government reveal that less than five per cent of all industry workers are male.
Not perturbed by these figures, Cowra's Peter Buik is proud to be forging a promising career as an educator at Carinya Early Childhood Centre thanks to the skills he's learning at TAFE NSW Cowra.
"Early childhood education and care had never been a career path to even cross my mind until a career change became integral to the success of my lifestyle as a full-time single parent," he said.
"Previously self-employed as a rural contractor, I required an occupation compatible with the hours of taking my son to school yet desired an option that allowed me to feel as though my work was impactful and rewarding.
"Aware of my affinity with children and desire to be able to support those in need, I enquired at the front office of Carinya Early Childhood Centre what I needed to do to be able to work there.
"Days later I was enrolled in a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care course at TAFE NSW Cowra and soon after began casual employment at the centre."
Carinya Early Childhood Centre Director, Susan Callaghan, said it didn't take long for Mr Buik to build a strong rapport with children and families.
"Peter's attentive, playful manner was engaging to the children and they soon grew to respect and love his company," she said.
"It has been a pleasure to observe Peter's work with the children and the growth he has achieved professionally. It is certainly rewarding to have Peter as a member of our team and his individuality and thought-provoking ways are an asset to our team."
Peter graduated with a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care in 2018, and is now completing a Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care at TAFE NSW.
TAFE NSW Early Childhood Education and Care Head Teacher Karen Howarth said, "Peter should be commended for his enthusiasm and genuine passion for knowledge and critical thinking around early childhood topics.
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"He is a pleasure to teach, the children adore him and he has a really bright future in the early childhood education and care industry."
According to the Australian Government's Job Outlook website, more than 184,000 new early childhood education and care job openings are predicted across the country until 2023. Mr Buik believes now's the perfect time for more males to consider an exciting career in this booming industry.
"I am treated equally by all the staff, families and children, with no spotlight shone upon me for simply being male," he said.
"There is no profession like this - from the joyous roars of your name as you open the door that kick-start every day to the child that runs up to you in search of solace, guidance or approval - no industry offers the heart-warming, existential fulfillment of early childhood education and care."
For more information about the range of early childhood education and care courses available at TAFE NSW, visit www.tafensw.edu.au or phone 131 601.