Exchange visitors (from left) Sharon Pauwels, Linda Smith and Annaliza Tan play with Laila Miller (left) and Bodhi Rae Kimmins at Busy Bees Toowoomba Central.
Exchange visitors (from left) Sharon Pauwels, Linda Smith and Annaliza Tan play with Laila Miller (left) and Bodhi Rae Kimmins at Busy Bees Toowoomba Central.

International exchange brings wealth of knowledge

FOUR women from different countries are part of a three-week international exchange program at Busy Bees day care centre.

Each year, the Busy Bees Talent Exchange Program brings educators together from across the globe to exchange knowledge, ideas and best practices.

This year, 16 educators from Malaysia, England, Scotland, Ireland, Canada and Singapore have made the trip to Australia on the exchange, with three being assigned to Busy Bees Toowoomba Central.

Though from different parts of the globe, these women said they felt united by their passion for childcare.

Canadian visitor Sharon Pauwels has been working in the field since 1992, after having childhood dreams of being a speech pathologist, while Singaporean visitor Annaliza Tan had a love of childcare instilled in her by her grandparents. Linda Smith, from England, has been part of the Busy Bees franchise for 15 years.

“I felt excited and elated to be selected for the program. The purpose for the three of us is staff recruitment,” Ms Smith said.

“Just seeing how it operates here (in Toowoomba), it’s given me a lot of food for thought in terms of staff retention, staff recruitment and how to make sure your employees are happy,” Ms Pauwels said.

“As soon as we walked in the front door here we saw the personal touches added (to this facility) to welcome us. It makes us feel like we are respected - that kind of culture I want to make sure I translate to my team.”

Ms Tan said the technology she had seen had been of interest.

Exchange host and Busy Bees Central Toowoomba service manager Sandy Kimmins went on the international exchange, held in the UK last year. She said the program was invaluable.

“My focus while on exchange was on wellbeing in children, nutrition and mental health in particular,” Ms Kimmins said.

“I brought lots back from the exchange and also had a great time.

“It was an honour to be selected for the talent exchange program this year, but I feel as if it's a testament to the team here and what we achieve each day.”


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