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Amidst an ongoing teacher shortage, the NSW Government has launched a new program to try and get more staff into classrooms and Dubbo is among the first places it's been rolled out.
The program targets local school leavers and career changers and promises $30,000 in training allowances, $30,000 retention bonuses, a paid job while you study and a guaranteed job on graduation.
The only catch? You have to stay in Dubbo.
NSW education minister Prue Car said the The Grow Your Own: Local Teacher Pipeline (LTP) program would help to address the state's teacher shortage by providing participants support to complete a secondary teaching qualification.
Participants will also work one day a week supporting teachers inside and outside the classroom at a local public school while completing their studies.
In return, they will have to teach at a local public high school for at least three years on completion of the program.
"This program is tailor-made to help schools where the demand for teachers is particularly high, by tapping into existing local talent within these communities," Ms Car said, announcing the program.
"Alongside our once-in-a-generation wage rise for teachers and moves to ease teacher workload, this is another step the government is taking to restore teaching as a career of choice and lift student academic outcomes."
As well as Dubbo, the LTP will target Queanbeyan, western and south-western Sydney and the Murray region. All these areas have been flagged as priority recruitment areas for the department of education.
It comes after the auditor-general identified attracting and retaining experienced and curriculum-qualified teachers as a major challenge for regional, rural and remote schools.
The report noted major gaps in subjects including maths, languages other than English and creative arts.
The new program expands on the existing Grow Your Own initiative, which supports non-teaching NSW staff already employed at public schools to gain professional teaching qualifications.
The LTP is open to career changers from other industries, high school leavers and existing Initial Teacher Education students, with career changers also eligible for a $30,000 retention bonus.
However, Dubbo mayor Mathew Dickerson worried $60,000 in incentives for working locals to change careers could lead to shortages in other areas.
"In regional areas such as Dubbo, we typically have unemployment one-to-three per-cent lower than the state average," he said.
"That screams out that we need people to come into the regions to take up work.
"When you talk to the local coffee shop, the accountant, or other businesses, they all say 'jeez, it's hard getting staff at the moment'."
Applications for the program close on Tuesday, October 31 for participants to begin study in Term 1, 2024. For more information about the program or how to apply visit the education department's website.
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