New support announced for Victoria's early childhood educators
The Sector > Quality > Professional development > Diploma upskill program the latest initiative to support the Victorian early childhood workforce

Diploma upskill program the latest initiative to support the Victorian early childhood workforce

by Freya Lucas

December 07, 2023

The Victorian Government has announced the latest in a series of initiatives designed to support the early childhood education and care (ECEC) workforce, with a new Certificate III Upskill Support Program (CUSP). This new program will support eligible educators with a Certificate III to upskill to a Diploma qualification in 2024. 


The Victorian Government has recently released the refreshed Best Start, Best Life Workforce Strategy, the third phase in a collaborative approach to attracting and retaining the Victorian kindergarten workforce. The strategy sets out new initiatives and builds on a range of programs in place as part of the $370 million kindergarten workforce package. 


“A quality early childhood education starts with dedicated staff. Consultation with the sector has shown that our workforce initiatives, training and upskilling opportunities and mentoring programmes are supporting early childhood workers to be their best,” Victoria’s Minister for Children Lizzie Blandthorn said. 


One such initiative is CUSP. CUSP will provide eligible educators who work at a Victorian early childhood education service delivering a funded kindergarten program with up to $7,000 (before tax) in financial support to upskill to a Diploma qualification. 


The financial support is delivered to educators when they meet key study and employment milestones, helping to reduce the expenses which come from returning to study, particularly during unpaid placement periods. 


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are looking to upskill from their Certificate III to the Diploma can choose to access financial support through the Early Childhood Aboriginal Pathways Scholarship Program. Through this program, eligible Certificate III educators can access up to $9,000 (before tax) in financial support. 


The application round for the CUSP program is now open and will close on Sunday 21 January 2024. 

Find out more on the eligibility requirements and submit an application for initiatives such as CUSP and scholarships here

A range of incentives to support the ECEC sector

CUSP is one of the many initiatives the Victorian Government has in place to support the workforce, which contributes to Victoria being seen as ‘the place to be’ when it comes to respect and recognition of the invaluable contribution ECEC professionals make to the broader community. 


Early Childhood Scholarships are available to support those studying for a career in early childhood education to pay for course fees, cover living expenses while on placement, or other costs associated with study, such as purchasing laptops or other study materials. 


ECEC professionals who are looking for a new position, or who are looking to relocate to Victoria, are well supported through generous financial incentives and the Early Childhood Jobs website, which connects ECEC professionals with employers seeking to fill vacancies across Victoria. 


It is free to use and lists employment opportunities all around Victoria for teachers, educators, directors and support staff across the sector.


There is also recruitment agency support available, with a panel of five recruitment agencies that specialise in the early childhood sector working with early childhood educators and teachers to secure roles in participating services across Victoria, especially those delivering Three-Year-Old Kindergarten in 2024. 


Early childhood teachers and educators can register their interest in connecting with one of these partner agencies here.


The Best Start, Best Life Workforce Strategy builds on the programs already in place and introduces new and expanded initiatives to continue to grow and retain the Victorian early childhood workforce.


To find out more about the financial support available to study and work in Victoria, visit

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