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 Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas today encouraged Hepburn Shire 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. Hepburn Shire children will benefit from five hours of kindergarten by 2021.

The 2019/20 Victorian Budget provided $881.6 million investment for the rollout of Three-year-old Kindergarten and was part of a $4.1 billion investment in education – from kinders and schools through to higher education and TAFE.

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 is part of a $92.4 million investment to support early childhood teachers and educators through more professional development, mentoring and scholarships, so children continue have access to highly-trained teachers, also from the 2019/20 State Budget.

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 6,000 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

Quote 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 Macedon, Mary-Anne Thomas:

“For Hepburn Shire 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.”

“Early childhood education has such a transformative effect on young minds and I’m so proud to be part of a government that is focused on ensuring we have the workforce needed to deliver subsidised three year old kinder”.