Carol Findlay is an Education Support Manager (ESM) based in Victoria. She has enjoyed a rich, fulfilling and diverse career with KU spanning 32 years, five different services and three states.

In her current role, Carol works in collaboration with KU early childhood management teams and visits KU services throughout Victoria and regional NSW. Her extensive knowledge of child development and early intervention helps in providing inclusive education and supportive programs for all KU families. She also oversees a variety of inclusion support funding.

What was your first job at KU?

My first permanent position with KU was in 1989 as the Director of a beautiful little service in Surry Hills, NSW. It was the Florence Sulman Kindergarten but it isn’t there now. I remember the inner-city had such a wide cultural and socio-economic diversity. It was such a big change from where I had come from in Wangaratta, Victoria.

How has your career evolved over time?

I always wanted to work with children with additional needs, and KU allowed me to take a part-time role as a teacher at KU Lance, in The Rocks, so that I could go back and study. KU Lance at the time was combination Preschool and Long Day Care and along with lots of diversity, there were quite a few children with additional needs there.

Once I got my new qualification, I was able to secure a full-time permanent job at KU Ashfield. I was a teacher in the 3-5 year-old room. From there I requested a teacher transfer to KU Sunbeam Preschool, Alexandria where there were more children with additional needs. When the Director resigned, I applied for and got the role.

From there I was successful in applying for the Director position at KU James Cahill Preschool, Waterloo. I was keen on the role as the inner-city centre was setting up a new 'Learning Together Program' for children with very high support needs.

Then a secondment opportunity came up at Central Office. It was for a maternity leave cover for an Education Quality Manager (EQM) covering the Bankstown area. This gave me the chance to see if it was a career path I was interested in evolving to. And it was. It didn’t happen immediately, but eventually after 10 years working in services, I made the change.

Since then, I’ve been a Consultant, Area Manager, Practice Manager and Education Support Manager in NSW, ACT and Victoria.

When I left Wangaratta, I had been a Director for five years and thought I knew everything. KU opened my eyes to the diversity of children and families all while providing me support to pursue great career opportunities.

What has changed/what has remained the same at KU over the years?

The thing that hasn’t changed for me is the deep relationships with colleagues and families and the strong support of management. It’s all about relationships.

The thing that has changed the most over the years is the technology. Everything used to be paper based. The technology has really helped particularly through COVID-19 we’ve been able to maintain connections and access.

Why do you choose to stay with KU?

It’s because of all the opportunities I’ve been given to learn. I have had so much professional development and training such as Circle of Security, Marte Meo and Play Spaces. I’ve met some amazing mentors and people to support me professionally. The leadership we have at KU has really helped us thrive and be well-known in the sector.

What would you say to someone who is considering working for KU?

Do it! There will be a lot of support around you as an individual working in a service. The professional development opportunities are far beyond what anyone else offers. Honestly, working at KU has been the best thing in my life. I’d never want to work for anyone else because it is a family. It truly is.