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Friday, February 26, 2021

Early childhood educator’s big win

An early childhood education trainee in Cardiff South has taken out this year’s People’s Choice Award for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year at the 2020 NSW Training Awards.

Raymond Steadman, who received the award last week, said it was a privilege to be able to help children discover their potential.

“It feels a bit surreal, but it feels good to be recognised by the community and people in NSW, I think it is a very big honour,” he said.

“It’s great to represent my culture and for people to see that anything is possible, that we can accomplish anything we put our minds to.”

The proud Worimi man is working in the field because he believes children are the future and deserve the best possible start in life.

“So, the preschool I work at now I went to as a kid,” he said.

“I had a connection with the place right from when I was younger and they had a traineeship going, so I put my name forward and it sort of just fell into my lap I guess.

“I always wanted to have the opportunity to have an effect on a child’s life in anyway – just like the way that Aunties had an effect on my life when I went to preschool there.”

Mr Steadman is also undertaking further Aboriginal health studies so he can identify issues early and help families seek treatment.

On National Close the Gap Day earlier this year, Mr Steadman delivered an innovative program, which included a display of medical equipment so children could feel comfortable with doctors and medical treatments.  

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, Catherine Cusack, said Mr Steadman was very deserving of the prestigious award.

“When Raymond started his traineeship, he lacked confidence, but his mentors Auntie Karen and Jen encouraged him to speak up and have faith in his ideas,” she said.

“Raymond’s trainers noted his quietly respectful interactions with children and his well-tuned observational skills that allow him to notice traits in children’s behaviour that others miss.”

Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education, Geoff Lee, said the students, educators and training providers represented at the NSW Training Awards were living proof that NSW’s training system offered a first-class choice for a rewarding career and lifestyle.

“I congratulate Raymond on being named NSW People’s Choice: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year,” Mr Lee said.

“He has an inspiring story and I wish him all the best in his career.”