More than 500 aspiring teachers will have the opportunity to boost their skills through an accelerated Initial Teacher Education (ITE) university program announced by the Victorian Government.
The teacher training programs will be fast-tracked to fill hard-to-staff positions in schools and early childhood services, giving educators an opportunity to improve their skills and enter a new career.
The $15.49m initiative will enable schools employ local teachers to work in hard-to-staff roles in outer-metropolitan, rural and regional locations, in areas such as STEM, languages, applied learning and specialist education.
The announcement follows a new bespoke model recently unveiled by the NSW Government that incentivises would-be teachers into the profession by lessening the adverse financial impact of taking time out of the workforce to gain a teaching qualification.
Victorian Education Minister, James Merlino, said the program would be a win-win for aspiring educators and the schools in desperate need of them.
“We all know the difference a great teacher can make, which is why we’re fast-tracking graduates into classrooms where they are needed most,” Merlino said.
“This initiative will give aspiring teachers the opportunity to be paid while they train for local jobs, as well as delivering a pipeline of teachers for schools in outer-metropolitan, rural and regional areas”.
The fast-tracked programs mean that aspiring school teachers with a bachelor’s degree will be able to complete their Masters of Teaching in 18-24 months through either an employment-based model – combining paid on-the-job training at a local school with studying – or through a hybrid model that combines intensive study with practical classroom experience.
For diploma-qualified early childhood educators, the usual three-year Bachelor of Early Childhood Education will be trimmed down to 18 months. The initiative also includes financial support packages for participating early childhood educators, who may be eligible for $30,000 to cover course fees and materials, as well as helping with living expenses while they study.
The Victorian Government will partner with Deakin University, the University of Melbourne, Australian Catholic University, Federation University Australia and Monash University to deliver the accelerated Masters of Teaching in 2021.
Deakin University’s Head of School of Education, Damian Blake, highlighted the importance of ITE programs in helping Pre-Service Teachers (PSTs) thrive in the classroom.
“Our young people and their teachers have been impacted greatly by the pandemic and it will take some years to come to recover from the extraordinary events of this year,” Professor Blake told The Educator.
“For our ITE programs we will continue to align our school partnership initiatives in ways that will enable our PSTs to genuinely support school improvements”.
Professor Blake said the pandemic has shown how valuable our PSTs can be, particularly during the challenging periods of remote learning in schools.
“We will continue to build on those learnings and opportunities by strengthening PSTs’ capabilities to support effective digital learning in schools and offer credentialed professional learning programs for teachers”.