Guaranteed Goodstart jobs for ECTs as a result of VU partnership
Victoria University (VU) has joined forces with Australia’s largest early learning provider, Goodstart Early Learning, and the Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET) to ease the shortage of early childhood teachers in regional and rural Victoria through an innovative partnership that encourages aspiring teachers in ‘hard-to-staff’ areas to be part of the solution.
The initiative centres on supported work placements which are offered in high-demand areas that have a shortage of early childhood teachers, such as Mildura, Bendigo, Traralgon and Ballarat.
Students enrolled in VU’s new one-year online postgraduate program, the Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Education, and its long-established Bachelor of Early Childhood Education, can now choose to spend 25 days of their required 60-day minimum work placement at a regional or rural Goodstart centre.
The DET-funded Early Childhood Professional Practice Partnership program, or ECP3, is designed to provide high-quality placements, coaching and visits from VU lecturers, mentoring from Goodstart educators, funding for travel and accommodation during the placement, and an orientation program to help students build relationships and fit into life in the community.
After students successfully complete the placement and receive their qualification from the Victorian Institute of Teaching, they are guaranteed a job with Goodstart in the same region.
The program is designed to appeal to regional residents looking for jobs close to home, or city students considering a ‘tree change’ to a smaller community.
Early childhood education lecturer at VU, Sarah Jobson, said the program would support the growing demand for early childhood teachers, and would ensure that every child, regardless of location, would have “the very best start.”
Demands for ECTs are especially high in Victoria as a result of the Victorian Government roll out of its almost $5 billion, decade-long program to fund 15 hours a week of three-year-old kindergarten, on top of its existing funding of four-year-old kinder.
The added year of funded kinder is expected to create about 6000 extra jobs in Victoria – 4000 as kindergarten teachers and 2000 as early childhood educators.
James Atherton, 29, from Drouin in the West Gippsland area of Victoria will begin his Graduate Diploma studies in February, saying that in addition to having an opportunity to “become a unique role model for young children” he was drawn to the initiative because it gives him the chance to make a real difference to children living in a regional area.
Information about the Graduate Diploma may be found here.