“It’s great that they are accelerating the bachelor’s degrees; however, we need to make sure that these courses still have the same amount of placement hours as before,” Inspira Kids Kialla director Melissa Penfold said. “If we’re shortening the degree, and shortening the amount of time spent on placement, then the teachers who are graduating are less prepared.”
One-time payments of $9,000 will be made to new and returning teachers, as well as educators moving to Victoria from other states and countries, including New Zealand.
In addition, educators moving more than 200 kilometers to take up a job will be eligible for financial assistance for relocation, with the amount of this assistance ranging from $2,000 to $8,000.
The payments are being made as part of an extension of the Early Childhood Incentives program that will see one million dollars added to its budget. The program’s primary objective is to increase the number of competent early childhood teachers working in regions of Melbourne and Victoria that are experiencing a teacher shortage.
Ingrid Stitt, the Victorian Minister for Early Childhood Education and Preparatory Education, feels that this initiative will provide the best possible educational start for Victorian kids.
“We’re supporting our early childhood workforce with more financial incentives and innovative courses to ensure we attract, retain and support dedicated staff,” Ms Stitt said.
Additional Victorian Government-funded spaces in the Australian Catholic University Accelerated Bachelor of Early Childhood Education program (2023) will be made available as part of the plan’s scope and scale.
This program of accelerated study allows educators a chance to finish a bachelor’s degree in 18 months, after completing a diploma in early childhood.
Educators are confident that these incentives would help reduce the difficulty they have had in hiring outstanding early childhood instructors who are eager to remain in the field.
Early childhood educators, Ms Penfold said, “all give the same answer” when asked whether they’re having trouble filling open positions. “We are not only struggling to find staff, we’re struggling to keep them. “The job is so demanding, and the pay is so poor, we have teachers who work for a few years and realise they can go and work in retail, or at a supermarket, and make more money and have less stress. “We really need good, quality teachers, and hopefully these financial incentives will help bring good people into the industry.”