Looking to attract the next generation of skilled, dedicated teachers to its education system, Minister for Education Ben Carroll has announced the opening of the Secondary Teaching Scholarships portal.

With an investment of $93.2 million, the scholarships will offer up to 4000 students valuable support to pursue secondary teaching at university.

The assistance is available to all Victorian students who enrol in accredited secondary school or dual primary-secondary teaching degrees in 2024 and 2025 and meet study load criteria.

“We are backing incoming university students, as they prepare to educate the next generation, by providing scholarships and financial support throughout their teaching degree and career,” Carroll said today in a statement.

“The cost of living should not hinder a long and rewarding career in teaching and these scholarships will help our future educators overcome financial barriers so that they can focus on their important work.”

Graduates are encouraged to work in a Victorian government secondary or specialist school after completing their degree, with further incentives available for two years as they start their teaching career.

The total scholarship amount for students who complete their studies is based on the HELP fees charged by the Commonwealth Government – which can range to between $18,000 for a four-year undergraduate degree or $9000 for a two-year postgraduate degree.

The scholarships program has already led to a significant increase in students interested in teaching courses in 2024.

It follows the release last month of a report revealing that, without significant investment, the demand for teachers across Victoria’s secondary schools is expected to outpace supply to 2028.

Tabled in parliament, the State Government’s Teacher Supply and Demand Report 2022 claimed a shortfall of more than 5000 teachers is expected over the forecast period, with demand in secondary schools increasing by 16.4 per cent and supply by just 8.1 per cent.

While forecast supply for primary teachers is expected to outpace demand to 2028, the report however forecast a shortfall of 495 workers in the early childhood sector.

It’s important to note that the report’s modelling did not include the $229.8 million investment by the Labor Government to attract, retain and support the teacher workforce, which includes the Secondary Teaching Scholarships.

That figure also includes $95.7 million to support more graduate teachers in government schools and $27 million for a Targeted Financial Incentives Program that provides $50,000 to assist teachers from Victoria, interstate and overseas to relocate to hard-to-staff positions in government schools.

In late January, when almost 800 advertised positions remain unfilled just days from the commencement of the 2024 school year, Shadow Minister for Education Jess Wilson criticised the Allan Government for refusing to publish the long overdue 2022 Teacher Supply and Demand Report.

“Labor’s teacher shortage crisis is of their own making and it is robbing students of the high-quality education they deserve, continuing to have a detrimental impact on learning outcomes which are already at record lows,” she said.

“Rather than buck passing to the Commonwealth, the Victorian Education Minister needs to take responsibility for the Victorian Education System and ensure every student has a permanent classroom teacher.

“Labor’s teacher shortage crisis is robbing students of the high-quality education they deserve and with student outcomes at record lows, must be addressed as a matter of urgency,” Wilson said.

To learn more about the Secondary Teaching Scholarships and to access the application portal, click here.