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.

Member for Werribee Tim Pallas today encouraged Werribee residents to consider pursuing careers in early childhood education, with an additional $3.82 million available in scholarships and incentives to start supporting those pursuing careers in this rewarding field.

Early childhood education is one of 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 nearly $5 billion for this program begins in 2020. Over the next decade, every Victorian child will have access to a full 15 hours of 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 200 scholarships to eligible students.

The new funding to commence 300 scholarships will mean approximately 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.

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.

To apply, visit: www.education.vic.gov.au/childhood/professionals/profdev/Pages/scholarships.aspx

Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino

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

Quotes attributable to Member for Werribee Tim Pallas

“For Werribee residents 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.”