Victorian Government dedicates additional funding in response to early learning workforce shortages

The Victorian Government recently announced additional funding to help address the workforce shortages in our sector, which is hoped to have a positive impact on the workforce shortages experienced state-wide.


The new funding will be used to create financial incentives for jobseekers to join or return to the early learning sector, as well as speed up the education process for diploma-qualified educators to upgrade their qualifications to degree-level to become an Early Learning Teacher.


The funded initiatives will apply to Victorians, as well as those coming from interstate and New Zealand. 


The additional support to our sector coincides with the rollout of the Three-Year-Old Kindergarten government-funded initiative which commenced being rolled out state-wide at the start of this year.


Financial incentives to join or return to the sector

The Victorian Government has created two types of financial incentives available for early childhood educators:


1/ Location incentives

Existing location incentives of $9,000 to $50,000 will be available for early childhood teachers who take up a role at a 'high-priority' service.


2/ Individual incentives

Individual incentive of $9,000 will be available for eligible, qualified early childhood teachers who take up a position at any service delivering Three-Year-Old Kindergarten.


The individual incentive is for:

  • Qualified early childhood teachers not currently working in the Victorian early childhood sector (note, new graduates are not eligible).
  • Ten hours of coaching will also be available to support those choosing to enter or return to the profession
  • Qualified early childhood teachers from other Australian states or New Zealand, irrespective of whether they are currently working in the sector.
  • A relocation supplement will be available to anyone who receives an incentive and moves more than 200km from their current place of residence, as a contribution towards the cost of relocation. This will be paid in their first incentive milestone payment.


Eligibility

To be considered for an incentive, early childhood teachers must:

  • Apply for an incentive within 30 days of accepting a position.
  • Be registered or eligible to register as an early childhood teacher with the Victorian Institute of Teaching (for example, through the mutual registration process, for those moving from interstate, or for ‘return to teaching from non-practicing’ registration).
  • Not have previously received an incentive under the existing Early Childhood Incentives Program or school’s Teacher Financial Incentive program.
  • Be employed for a minimum of 12 months in a teaching role.
  • Be accepting a position 60kms or more from your current place of residence or be moving from employment outside the early childhood education sector.


Additional study placements

As well as financial incentives, the Victorian Government has funded an additional 175 places available in the 2023 intake of Australian Catholic University’s Accelerated Bachelor of Early Childhood Education, as part of the Innovative Initial Teacher Education (IITE) program.


The IITE program allows students to complete their bachelor's degree in 18 months while taking on paid employment at an early learning childhood service.


Study options include:

  • An undergraduate early childhood qualification (for example, Bachelor in Early Childhood Education). If you study full-time, this usually takes 4 years to complete.
  • A 'pathways' course where people with an approved Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care can enrol and gain credit that accelerates their degree in early childhood education.

Applications for the next ACU intake are open from August this year. More information on study options can be found here.


While these recent announcements offer well needed support to our sector, ACA Victoria is also mindful that an unintended outcome of the regional incentives could be a loss of staff in some services in metropolitan areas.


ACA Victoria continues to engage with both the Victorian Government and the Australian Government (via ACA National) regarding the workforce shortages in our sector, while advocating for the most practical short-term, medium and long-term solutions to this critical issue.