From her home in Hastings, Amber runs her PORSE business, looking after one-year-old daughter Bodhi and two other children. It’s a complete change of environment for her, having only joined PORSE in July 2018.
When Amber was in her mid-20s, she was very keen on becoming a school teacher. “I’d always been interested in human development and I volunteered in schools. I even got accepted into Teachers College. But then my mother passed away, which changed the course of my life. I had already lost my father so it was a definite turning point.”
Amber’s mother had always encouraged her to travel, which she did, living in Europe before returning to NZ to advance her newly discovered wine career, an industry she has worked in for the past eight years.
In 2017, Amber fell pregnant and six months later, was made redundant from her job. At that point “everything changed”.
“I had a baby on the way and suddenly my career, income and security was whipped out from under me. When Bodhi was born I thought what am I going to do? I worried about how I could work, manage the household and care for her.
“I looked at Bodhi and realised I wanted to have someone in her life who understood the importance of attachment in those early years. My mind started to drift back to being a teacher and I revisited my natural love for child development.”
A “light bulb moment” clarified Amber’s next step.
“I realised I could be an in-home educator and look after Bodhi and other children. I could offer parents exactly what I was hoping to find, a home away from home.”
“What sold me on PORSE was the support they give to both the educator and the children. They offer online qualification programmes so I can upskill while I work.”
For new educators, PORSE offers a $500 business start-up package. As all PORSE educators are self-employed contractors, it was essential to Amber that she understood how to run her own business.
“PORSE helps me with a lot of the administration and advice around taxation, charging rates and finances. With that support, I can concentrate on what I do best – caring for children.”
Amber will shortly begin studying for her NZ Certificate in Early Childhood Education (Level 4), a qualification PORSE has developed and offers free to educators.
The benefits of one-on-one connections formed during the first 1,000 days of a child’s life are well documented. “PORSE is the closest thing to a child staying at home with their primary caregiver - the most natural, beneficial relationship for them.”
Would she go back to her old job? Never, says Amber. “I’m close to what I was earning in my other jobs and paying half the tax. And I don’t have the pressure, childcare costs or the stress of getting myself and children out the door in the morning.”
For Amber, taking the leap and starting a new career as an educator has been “the best decision”.
“I have the ultimate flexibility and have fulfilled my dream of a career with children.”