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A bridge to a perfect job

HAPPY TO BE HERE: Aline Pendeza and her 3-year-old daughter, Janai Balume, at the First Steps childcare centre in Lismore.
HAPPY TO BE HERE: Aline Pendeza and her 3-year-old daughter, Janai Balume, at the First Steps childcare centre in Lismore.

WHEN Aline Pendeza was a child growing up in Uganda, there was a woman in her village who used to gather all the children around her, tell stories, cook porridge, and take care of them.

"There were no childcare centres there. Our parents all loved that lady," Aline told The Echo.

"I feel so lucky that now I can do what she did."

Aline is now a full-time child care worker at First Steps childcare centre in Market Street, Lismore.

Her pathway to the employment of her dreams was through ACE Community College's Stepping Stones course, which she completed last year to get her Certificate III in Children's Services. The course also focused on improving English language skills, which increased Aline's confidence.

Aline is just brimming with gratitude to First Steps manager Sarah Ruttley.

"It has been so special for me, coming to a new life, without knowing anybody, where everything is so different ... for Sarah and the other staff to have looked after me, given me this opportunity, and been so patient with me - that's a very special kind of love, and a gift for my life," Aline said.

A new Cert III course called Bridge to Children's Services is starting on February 18 and runs three days a week for 36 weeks.

It's being offered free to people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, and Claire emphasised the importance of Echo readers letting their CALD friends and neighbours, who may not speak fluent English or read newspapers, know about it.

An information morning is being held today, Thursday, February 7, at 10-11.30am, with enrolment registration on Monday, February 11, at ACE Community College, on the corner of Magellan and Carrington Streets. For more information, or to register, phone 6622 1903.


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