QCOSS is proud to have received applications from a strong number of students to take part in the Rural and Remote Workforce Initiative, Early Childhood Teacher (ECT) Scholarship Program. There are currently 32 scholarship recipients from priority rural and remote locations across Queensland, being supported to upgrade their qualifications in early childhood education, to be an early childhood teacher in their community.
The scholarship program is part of a broader early childhood education and care workforce initiative, funded through the Queensland Education Department, to address some of the many barriers experienced by educators in accessing quality training and support.
Project lead for the QCOSS Rural and Remote Workforce Initiative Project, Fiona Malcolm said the project has been integral to addressing some of the inequity in the training system in these areas; “just because you live in a rural or remote location, does not mean you should not have access to the same quality training and development opportunities, and as a result children have access to high quality education and care; which is the foundation of their life-long learning journey and wellbeing”.
“After families; quality early childhood education is the earliest intervention in a baby or child’s life; and is fundamental to their ongoing learning and a successful transition to school; it teaches them to be curious and confident learners, connects, contributes and communicates them with their world and focuses on wellbeing and learning through play;”
The ECT scholarship program provides additional support to address some of the challenges faced by students as a result of living in a rural or remote location. Students do not have the option of attending a university campus, face to face lectures and progressing with a group of peers. QCOSS is working individually with students to understand what they need to support them in their studies, connect them with others and walk with them over the next two years on that journey.
“We have students from Yam Island, Badu Island, Thursday Island, Pormpuraaw, Georgetown, Weipa, Coen, Karumba, Burketown, Winton, Barcaldine, Blackall, Longreach, Eidsvold, Woorabinda, Cherbourg, Surat, Goondiwindi, St George and Dirranbandi who will all have an opportunity to gain ECT qualifications, that would probably not have happened otherwise. For some students, they will be the first person in their family to gain a University qualification” she said.
Early Childhood Education and Care services in remote areas face particular challenges in recruiting suitably qualified educators, growing the capability of their educators and building capacity within their communities. These challenges, coupled with new legislative requirements, make it vital that ECEC educators in isolated areas are given support to upskill and complete their qualifications.
More information about the Rural and Remote Workforce Initiative can be found here.