“Following my dream, no matter where it takes me” – How one ECT embraced change
The early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector is currently one full of opportunities. Services in Victoria are seeking education and care professionals of all kinds, from all across the country (and New Zealand too), to teach in Victoria.
In Victoria, generous incentives are being offered to secure the qualified teachers needed to deliver funded kindergarten programs. Financial incentives of between $9,000 and $50,000 are available for early childhood teachers to take up positions in services delivering funded Three-Year-Old Kindergarten.
To learn more about the lived experience of relocating and benefiting from the incentives on offer, we caught up with Avril who has recently made the move from Queensland to be an early childhood teacher (ECT) in a regional kindergarten in Victoria.
Global journey leads to rural Victoria
Avril’s professional journey has been one full of adventures, twists, and turns. From the moment she knew she wanted to be an early childhood teacher, as a young girl growing up in South Africa, she has embraced the opportunities given to her to travel the world, make connections and expand her horizons.
From the start of her career in South Africa, through moves to New Zealand and then Australia, working with children and making a difference has always been Avril’s main driver.
When the time was right for Avril to return to early childhood after a brief period away from the sector, Avril contacted several recruitment agencies, one of whom shared with her the relocation incentives on offer for early childhood professionals across Victoria.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Supportive processes made the transition easy
With Avril’s family grown, and her husband settled in his job on Queensland’s Gold Coast, she decided there was no harm in exploring the opportunities available, arranging a visit to the kindergarten which would go on to be her new professional home.
“After everything was arranged, I visited the centre, met the staff at the kindergarten and spent the whole day interacting with the children,” she explained.
“This was the best decision I could have made and I felt good about accepting the job offer.”
“My family supported me [to relocate to Victoria] and we agreed that with every school holiday, I would visit with them in Queensland.”
Once she decided to make the move, Avril was supported by Victoria’s Department of Education and Training and her recruitment agency to submit her required documentation to start her new role and to apply for an incentive.
“All of this took time, however, every person I spoke to or emailed was very supportive,” Avril said.
“I was so grateful that the recruitment agent was there for me. The recruiter called me, emailed me and did an amazing job to guide me. The milestone one payment was received within a week of approval. This was all thanks to the scholarships and incentives team, who accepted my calls and they were very supportive and helpful.”
Advice for others considering making the move
We asked Avril what advice she would give to others who have seen the generous relocation incentives available, but who may be reluctant to take a leap.
“Take the opportunity to experience working in a rural setting,” she said.
“I love coming to work each and every day. The children, families, team and the community are just so welcoming, supportive and genuine. I am amazed by all the external agencies and organisations involved in supporting teachers, children and families.”
Avril also marveled at the funding available, such as Innovative Initial Teacher Education (IITE) programs, to upskill educators to support children’s learning, needs and interests.
Avril encouraged her fellow professionals to take their time in finding an employer which matches their needs, philosophy and perspective, saying, “I am so lucky to be employed by such a reputable organisation, who focuses on the children and their safety, their staff and who is so involved with their communities not just in Australia, but also known worldwide.”
“While relocating isn’t always easy, being flexible, confident and willing to step out of your comfort zone means amazing things await you.”
“Having this opportunity come to me at the right time, where I needed something to bring me back to what I love doing was the best thing that could have happened to me.”
“I love my husband and I love my children and my dog, however, it is my time to focus on me. My girls are grown up and independent and I want to set an example to them that they should never give up on their dreams, goals or passion.”
If the time is right for you to make a change, and you are keen to learn more about the range of opportunities, including relocation support, available in the Education State, visit vic.gov.au/kinder.
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