ANTHONY Toye is all set for success in a profession dominated by women.
The College Ystrad Mynach childcare student is the only male in a class of 18 females and is now in the running for a national childcare student of the year award.
Anthony, 20, from Caerphilly, is on a shortlist of just four to win the prestigious award run by education company Pearson and Nursery World magazine.
The award is given to a student who performs brilliantly on their childcare course and who shows the potential to be a great childcare professional.
It was while growing up in a house with four younger brothers and a sister that former Bedwas High School pupil Anthony first discovered his love of working with children.
And when he returned to his primary school Plas-y-Felin Primary School in Caerphilly to do a work placement while studying for his GCSEs, he realised teaching was what he wanted to do for a career.
“When I was looking after my brothers and sister, I thought I might enjoy doing it as a job. I then did a work placement at my old primary school and after just a week, I thought this is the job for me,” said Cardiff City fan Anthony.
After completing his A-Levels at Bedwas High School, Anthony enrolled on the two-year Cache Level 3 Diploma in Childcare and Education course at The College Ystrad Mynach in 2010.
As well as studying in the classroom at college, Anthony has been able to put theory into practice at school placements two days each week.
“Studying was a lot of hard work but it was really great because once you learn something new at college, you can put it into practice when you go to the placements,” said Anthony, who also enjoys playing five-a-side football.
During his two year course, hard-working Anthony has been on placements at St Helen’s RC Primary School in Lansbury Park, Caerphilly, and Acorns Day Nursery in Llanishen, Cardiff.
He has spent most of his time at Hendredenny Primary School in Hendredenny, Caerphilly, and even though he has just finished his college course, he is still going there every day until the school breaks up for the summer holidays.
“I’ve got so much out of the placements and it’s really rewarding helping children to develop their education, even if it’s just the smallest thing,” said Anthony.
And he said being the only man in a class full of women had really helped his studies.
“I thought it was a bit unusual being with a big group of girls at first but they have different viewpoints to me and I have different viewpoints to them.
“When we had a discussion in class, we could help each other with different points of view. It’s good to hear alternative views and different ways of doing things.”
Having now just completed the course, Anthony is getting ready to head to university in September to do an early childhood studies degree before hopefully going on and taking up his dream job as a primary school teacher.
He is also now waiting to see if he has won the much-coveted national childcare award after spending a day in Oxford being interviewed by the judges.
“I’m delighted to be on the shortlist for the award. And I feel very honoured because I’m the first person to have ever been nominated from the college. To be a man in an industry dominated by women, I’m extremely pleased.”
Ann Parker, Cache coordinator at The College Ystrad Mynach, said Anthony had been a joy to teach and had shown a real talent for working with children.
She said: “Anthony has been such a pleasure to teach and his passion for childcare and teaching is evident for everyone to see.
“Anthony is a first class student and his work both in class and on his placements has been superb. He’s a really talented and committed young man and has got a very bright future ahead of him. Everyone at the college is delighted that he has been shortlisted for this prestigious award and we wish him every success in the future.”
The childcare student award will be presented at the glamorous annual Nursery World awards ceremony in London in September.