Early Childhood Education graduate, Pepe Siligi, can’t wait to apply the skills and knowledge she gained at Future Skills Academy to her work providing the best holistic care to children.
Pepe previously worked as a legal secretary for lawyers in New Zealand for nearly 15 years prior to moving to Niue to work for the National Creche Niue Island. It was during her time at the creche that Pepe developed her love of early childhood education.
Pepe returned to New Zealand in early 2020, just before the Covid border closures.
“It was very lucky to be back right in time,” she says.
It was while browsing social media that Pepe first learned about Future Skills’ Early Childhood Education programme.
“I saw an opportunity where I could back myself with a qualification that would allow me to have better knowledge and understanding,” she says.
Going back to a classroom setting after more than two decades might sound difficult, but Pepe says she felt ready to learn.
“I suppose, being an older student, I just didn’t know what to expect, but I strongly believe you can study at any time. It doesn’t matter what age you are,” she says.
Pepe has been extremely satisfied with her experience of studying here at Future Skills.
“The course has helped me gain the knowledge and skills required to give proper care and affection to the little ones. The best part about studying here was the opportunity to apply all the learning done in class in real-time during practicum at an early childhood centre,” she says.
During her time at Future Skills, Pepe was heavily involved in cultural activities - from being a member of the Student Council committee organising events to being an active participant in different celebrations.
“I really enjoyed the different cultural activities that we had on campus. It was good to learn about different cultures and share that knowledge. In fact, it was this exchange of traditions and cultures that helped me in my practicum,” she says.
“My practicum was at a Muslim play group centre. Interestingly, children there would only speak and understand Arabic. It was challenging but I loved the fact that I could apply my learning in the real environment,” she says.
“My practicum also made me realise the importance of language – which I firmly believe plays a big role in the early learning of a child. I exposed the kids to English and Māori words while learning Arabic from them,” she says.
For Pepe, the best part about studying at Future Skills was the excellent support provided by staff.
“I would like to thank my tutor, Sudha, and pastoral care staff member, Fola, along with Seema, our campus manager, and members of the student council,” she says.
“Future Skills is an amazing institution. It has helped me gain holistic knowledge and skills to care for kids. For anyone who wishes to study here, I’d encourage them – come here and you won’t regret it,” she says.
Pepe currently works at Our Kids Early Learning Centre in Glendene. Ask her about her future plans and she replies: “After having gained enough experience, I wish to go back to Niue Island and take up a role in training staff for Early Childhood Education Centres there – and that would be my dream job.”
We wish her all the best in her endeavours and hope she achieves her dream.