ECU develops Future Teachers Fund to ease cost of living pressures
The Sector > Quality > Professional development > ECU develops Future Teachers Fund to ease cost of living pressures

ECU develops Future Teachers Fund to ease cost of living pressures

by Freya Lucas

May 02, 2023

Edith Cowan University (ECU) has introduced a new program designed to support those studying teaching to cope with the financial challenges that come with completing their final year full-time professional experience placement. 


The Future Teachers Fund (FTF) is a $5,000 scholarship awarded to students most in need of financial help to get through their final year full-time professional experience placement. The funding was introduced following a 2021 National Student Experience Survey which showed that of 800 final year education students that graduate with ECU each year, more than 220 report being negatively impacted by their financial circumstances in their final year of study. 


“We don’t want the cost of living to be a barrier to becoming a teacher,” said ECU School of Education Executive Dean Professor Caroline Mansfield. 


Money to drive the fund comes through generous contributions from the public and from businesses which support the work of the University, with the FTF open to those who are studying early childhood, primary and secondary teaching.


While the challenges of the drop in income during practicum placement impacts all students, for those who are international students, the pressure is especially high. 


Phillippa Combrink is one such student, who resorted to taking out a personal loan to get by. 


“The financial implications were huge, I remember driving from Tapping to Two Rocks Primary School for prac every day, and there was a time my petrol light came on and I had no money to put petrol in my car at that stage,” she recalled.

Phillippa Combrink came to Perth just prior to the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020 to be nearer her sister, niece and nephew. As an international student, Ms Combrink is required to pay her tuition fees up front.


“I had to take on quite a lot of different jobs because as a casual worker you generally just do shifts of two to five hours,” she explained. 


“There were some days I was working three different jobs just to get in enough hours to make enough money to cover my expenses,” she said. 

“Having something like the FTF means for students we can take the focus off survival and actually engage with the experience.” 


Professor Mansfield said the University “cannot do it alone,” calling on the Western Australian public and business owners to commit to supporting the teachers of tomorrow by donating to the fund.  


Support the FTF by heading to the website to make a donation.  

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