La Trobe University: La Trobe building teacher workforce

More regional Victorian students will have an opportunity to become teachers, as the University increases the education offering at its regional campuses in 2023, and continues to roll out its first-of its-kind pathway into secondary teaching, Nexus.

From Semester 1 2023, students will be able to undertake all specialities of Initial Teacher Education at all La Trobe campuses, where previously some regional students had to travel to Bendigo or Melbourne to pursue their chosen career.

In addition, a new-look Bachelor of Education in Bendigo – and across all La Trobe campuses – will see all pre-service teachers study together in their first year, before specialising in Early Childhood, Primary or Secondary.

La Trobe Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar AO said the expansion of the Bachelor of Education offering will help build teacher workforce where it is needed most.

“We know that across the country this critical workforce is under strain – and this is particularly being felt in rural and regional areas,” Professor Dewar said.

“Our expanded Bachelor of Education means students across much of regional Victoria can stay close to home while studying – saving time, money and making it more likely they will consider a career in teaching.”

Professor Dewar said the University was also tackling the teacher shortage issue by providing a high-quality degree program that supports students through their studies.

“La Trobe’s Bachelor of Education completion rate is far higher than the national average, meaning the vast majority of our students are qualifying to become teachers,” Professor Dewar said.

“While the sector-wide average completion for Initial Teacher Education students is around 50 per cent, La Trobe’s teacher education completion rate is more than 70 per cent – making a significant difference to schools and the community.”

Dean of La Trobe’s School of Education, Professor Joanna Barbousas, said the University is also committed to continuing the Nexus program – which received another $4.8 million from the Australian Government in May.

“Nexus enables carefully selected participants to work in rural, regional and low socio-economic schools while they complete their Master of Teaching (Secondary) degree, and supports them with mentoring and professional development opportunities,” Professor Barbousas said.

“It not only gives students real-life classroom experience, it enables people to make a career change into teaching without having to cope with the financial strain that full-time study can cause.

“Our Nexus graduates embrace the opportunities and challenges of teaching, and have a passion to work in schools that really need them – which is a win for the students, and the community,” Professor Barbousas said.

Key points
Students undertaking the new-look Bachelor of Education will complete the first year of the degree as a single cohort, helping build understanding and collaboration across the teaching spectrum – from early childhood to secondary.
The Bachelor of Education – with the option to specialise in either Early Childhood and Primary, Primary or Secondary teaching – will be available at all campuses from 2023 (Albury-Wodonga, Bendigo, Bundoora, Mildura and Shepparton)
The Nexus Program is delivered as part of the High Achieving Teachers Program with the support of the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment; and the Victorian Government Department of Education and Training as part of its investment in Initial Teacher Education.
Completion rates for Initial Teacher Education Bachelor students vary across Higher Education providers, from 34 per cent to 73 per cent, with the average being around 50 per cent – whereas completion rates for all fields of study is closer to 70 per cent (Australian Government Discussion Paper 2021)
La Trobe’s completion rate for Initial Education Students Bachelor students is over 70 per cent

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