As regional manager in a fashion retail company Mdm Norita Binte Rohani had to work shifts and on weekends as well. The working condition became untenable when she was pregnant again with her second child sometime in early 2018, as she had to juggle between a hectic work schedule and looking after her first daughter who was then three years old.
She made a difficult decision, and a big sacrifice financially, to leave the company so that she could look after her first child full time and prepare her for enrolment into a childcare centre.
At the end of 2019, when her second daughter was about 20 months old, Norita decided that she was ready to get back into the workforce but not in retail again as she wanted to have more time for the family. Recognising that she did not know enough about child development, Norita took a leap of faith in February 2020 and found herself a place as an Assistant Teacher in a preschool in Buangkok, which was near her residence.
“Venturing into early childhood will help me to understand more about my children’s development needs and give me the chance to establish a new career,” said Norita, who has a Diploma in Business Administration.
Her new-found employer also encouraged her take a up a Place-and-Train programme that would allow her to work and study at the same time. In April 2020, she signed a two-year bond with the centre and embarked on her new journey to study at KLC International Institute (KLCII) for the WSQ Professional Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE).
Norita felt that the arrangement would most certainly help her to transit smoothly into her new career and give her the opportunity to expand her learning horizon without any lost of income.
With the Circuit Breaker in place at that time, Norita began her course by logging into the KLC online learning platform every afternoon after she returned home from work at the centre.
“In the beginning, it was an eye-opener for me as I did not have much knowledge at all on early childhood development and proper parental involvement in their children’s growing years.
“The course is very well structured. It sets the standard for quality of care and provides proper guidance for holistic learning appropriate to the developmental needs children,” she said.
“The best part is that I don’t have to rush from centre to school. Studying online from home is really helpful for working mums like myself” She added
She said her lecturers are very experienced and knowledgeable, and they have given her the confidence to better manage and nurture her own children and those under her care at the centre.
“Before the course, my knowledge on childcare was definitely lower than 4 out of 10, but now mid-way through I am at 7, which shows how much I have learned so far,” she said.
And she enjoys her work thoroughly too, being able to interact and engage with the children, and impart her knowledge to them in the social, moral or self-help areas.
She has also been able to apply what she has learnt to her role as assistant teacher.
Norita thinks she would like to continue learning and do more in the future, including getting involved in curriculum development.
“I am very grateful to have the opportunity to make the career switch under the Place-and Train programme. I urge those making mid-career moves to consider early childhood education seriously. Once you get into it, you can easily fall in love with the job,” added Norita.