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Meet Pam - Our Finalist for the Community Education Student of the Year Awards 2022

Meet Pam – Our Finalist for the Community Education Student of the Year Awards 2022

Born and raised in Punjab, India, Paramjit (Pam) Kaur Sunner had hopes of becoming a teacher. She migrated to Australia in 1990, after getting married. When she arrived, she had to learn English and a new culture. After completing studies in computing and data entry, she landed her first role as a Data Entry Clerk. Soon after, she had to leave her job to support her husband and his own studies. For many years, she was a stay at home mum looking after her young children.

In 1997, Pam began her studies again. This time completing courses in hospitality and childcare. Pam had hoped to open her own family day care at home but when this fell through worked in a childcare centre between 2012 and 2016.

Pam was very active in her community. Especially her local cultural group, RPD, where she helped organised events and prepare food. Pam would also volunteer at the local Sikh temple where she helped prepare food.

In 2016, a death in the family meant Pam had to leave her job again and look after three additional children. Pam once again became a stay at home mum. This time, to six kids. It wasn’t until two years later that she returned to studies, completing her Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care. She returned to working in a childcare centre while competing her Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care.

During her studies, her brother fell ill and passed away. Pam returned to India to be with her family. Upon returning to Australia, her father in law, who was being cared for by her and her husband, also fell ill and shortly after passed away. In the span of two months, Pam had lost two family members. Throughout this time, she continued to work and study.

Pam’s mental health took a toll but with the support of her husband, classmates and trainer, she persevered and never gave up.

“I was totally shattered. Mentally, I was very upset… It was a nightmare for me.” Pam says of the difficult time.

Pam completed her Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care at Macquarie Community College. Her trainer says that “despite this enormous load, Pam was a dedicated and committed student throughout”. Pam has gone on to continue to work in childcare as a Diploma-trained educator.

When asked about what the qualification meant to her, Pam says:

“This diploma allowed me to gain further knowledge in an area that I have always been interested and passionate about. This diploma has allowed me to effectively implement research and skills into the workplace. This diploma has also given me the ability to challenge myself and move into more leadership roles within my workplace. The diploma has provided me with confidence in my job which is visible in my attitude and my interactions in the workplace. I am extremely proud of myself for completing my diploma and thankful for my MCC teachers who have assisted my on the way, and my family and friends who encouraged me throughout as well and I look forward to furthering my education soon.”

Pam was one of ten finalist at the sixth annual Community Education Student of the Year Awards. The Awards ceremony took place at the historic Mint in Sydney on 7 February 2023 with about 60 attendees and another 25 via Zoom. Guest speaker at the Awards ceremony was author, teacher, lawyer and policy adviser Joanna Maxwell – Chair of the Board of Sydney Community College.

Congratulations to the winner, Grahame Neville from Tamworth Community College and the other finalists.

More details about the event can be found here:

 Macquarie Community College would like to congratulate Pam on her nomination, as well as her personal and professional achievements!

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