Sue Legg and Kim Moroney have more than 80 years experience of working in early childhood between them.
The pair were presented with badges in recognition of their 30 year membership of the Union by General Secretary John Quessy at the IEU’s Early Childhood Conference.
Sue Legg’s career started in England back in the 70s. She arrived in Australia in 1974 and because she was one of the few people with a specific early childhood qualification she was appointed to a board designing the child care certificate in Australia.
Ironically about six years later the Australian Government decided not to recognise the degrees of overseas trained people, and that’s when Sue had her first experience of IEU support.
“My centre was no longer receiving funding because I was no longer deemed qualified and I was the only teacher. All our money was withdrawn over the Christmas break,” she said.
“The Union stepped in and made sure universities would accept overseas qualifications to undertake a course, and that overseas trained people were allowed to continue working and centres kept receiving funding.”
Sue undertook a part time degree and in her seventh and final year, the government announced it would accept overseas qualifications again. So she did not need the degree.
“But it was good to have up to date qualifications,” Sue said.
She was the coordinator at Hunter Gowrie Crèche at Tighes TAFE providing care for migrant and refugee children whose parents are taking English at the TAFE.
It’s a government supported program which originally started as three days a week.
“When the Americans pulled out of Afghanistan there were a number of interpreters who had helped them who had to be got out of the country quickly,” Sue said.
“Quite a few of them ended up in Newcastle and our service was expanded to five days a week to cater for them.”
Sue did not want to work full time so once again she contacted the IEU for help negotiating that issue.
She is happily working three days a week as part of the staff team and said working with children from 35 different language backgrounds is “wonderful”.