A 22-year-old Northern Tasmanian woman has credited growing up as one of seven siblings as being the instigator for her being recognised as the state's best vocational student.
Gypsy Rose Blackberry was announced as the winner at the 2021 Tasmanian training awards late last week.
Ms Blackberry had worked at her current employed, the Toddle Inn Child Care Centre at Deloraine, during her vocational training, and her boss played a part in landing the star employee the statewide recognition.
While she had been officially working as an early childhood educator for four years, Ms Blackberry said taking on the role as the sensible one of her siblings held her in good stead long before she was hired.
I think I just always took the responsibility of being the big sister ... I thought, 'I'm really good at this, so let's keep going with it'.Gypsy Rose Blackberry
"I was driven by my family. I've got a really big family. Four sisters - two sets of twins under age of 15, and I've got two brothers, one's 26 and one's 12," she said.
"Growing up in that big family environment, I think I just always took the responsibility of being the big sister, and I just loved hanging out with them all the time. I thought, 'I'm really good at this, so let's keep going with it'.
"So I did my certificate three in college and then decided to do my diploma after I got casual employment [at the Toddle Inn]."
As Ms Blackberry completed her diploma at TasTAFE she continued her employment at the Toddle Inn and within months the company was so impressed with her work they offered her a permanent part time position.
Now with her diploma completed, the company's foresight has seen them with the state's best vocational student.
Ms Blackberry said she was surprised and excited to have received the award, and it was the culmination of a long process she never expected to end the way it did.
"I was incredibly nervous and I didn't think I would win, but I'm really happy," she said.
Now Ms Blackberry has gone from helping raise her siblings to helping raise the children of Deloraine - something she said was rewarding and enjoyable.
With the availability of early childhood educators presenting a problem for Northern Tasmania, Ms Blackberry encouraged more people to take up the career.
"We definitely need more educators. I don't understand why more people aren't doing it because I love my job," she said.
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