As a father of four, Patrick Lockley has plenty of experience looking after children, but didn’t always believe he was good enough to actually become an early childhood teacher.
Originally a farm manager, Patrick gave up work when his daughter was diagnosed with brain tumours in order to look after his family.
The family subsequently learnt that their other three children also have a rare genetic condition that makes them more susceptible to getting cancer, which led Patrick to the realisation that nothing in life is guaranteed and that he should follow his dreams.
So, instead of going back to farm work Patrick applied for and was accepted onto the Bachelor of ECE programme at WINTEC.
So far, Patrick says his study is going well and he is enjoying his practicum at a local kindergarten where he says the children and parents seem to enjoy having a male teacher because he brings something different to the centre.
Patrick credits the support from staff at the kindergarten with helping him make the move into ECE training and with encouraging him during his studies.
“I have amazing staff support from Deanwell Kindergarten,” he says.
"Ruth, who has been there for many years, saw how I interacted with children when I dropped my son off and took me aside and said I really should train and they would mentor and guide me while training”.
While the move to study has been stressful, Patrick says his wife and family are 100% behind his decision to train as an ECE teacher. The ChildForum Men in ECE Invitation Grant has been helpful in reducing some of the financial burden he says, which with a family also to support, is considerable.
Patrick hopes to become a full-time ECE teacher once he completes his training and says he hopes other men will also consider the profession in the future.