Getting More Victorians Into Kindergarten Teaching

The Andrews Labor Government is offering an additional 300 scholarships to aspiring kinder teachers, as well as $9,000 incentives to support early childhood teachers to move to areas where three-year-old kinder is rolling out.

Minister for Education James Merlino today announced a further $3.8 million for scholarships and incentives to support more people to pursue careers in early childhood education.

Early childhood education is one Victoria’s fastest growing professions, with more teachers and support staff needed as the Labor Government delivers universal three-year-old kindergarten for all children.

The roll out of this $5 billion program begins in 2020. Over the next decade, every Victorian child will have access to a full 15 hours of subsidised three-year-old kinder.

This investment stands in stark contrast to the budget delivered by the Morrison minority government, which fails parents and kids by not including funding for three-year-old kinder, and continuing the uncertainty for four-year old kinder.

To address the increased demand for kinder teachers, incentive payments of up to $9,000 will be available for early childhood teachers who move to areas where subsidised three-year-old kinder programs will be rolled out first.

This package is part of a $7.2 million investment in workforce initiatives to attract aspiring early childhood teachers and retain them, which includes establishing a pool of mentors to support new teachers and holding four early childhood teacher conferences to support graduate teachers at the start of their careers.

This will build on the Labor Government’s existing $8 million Early Childhood Scholarship Program, which opened in October 2018 and has already offered more than 400 scholarships to eligible students.

The new funding of 300 scholarships will mean a total of 700 scholarships are on offer. Coupled with the employment incentives, this money will help cover costs including course fees, study materials and financial support in the early years of their career.

Eligible scholarship recipients will receive up to $34,000 towards a bachelor qualification or up to $24,000 towards a postgraduate qualification.

The roll out of three-year-old kinder is expected to create almost 7,000 jobs. More than 4,000 additional kinder teachers and more than 2,000 additional early childhood educators are needed as the program expands state-wide.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino

“If you have been considering a career change into kindergarten teaching, now is the time. These scholarships will help to cover the costs of study and provide incentives to get started in a new career.”

“Introducing universal three-year-old kindergarten is one of the biggest social reforms in this Victoria’s history. There’s never been a better time to be an early childhood teacher, and change children’s lives for the better.”

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