SPEECH

House of Representatives

Dr HAINES (Indi) (13:42): Today I rise to highlight the Nexus program offered by La Trobe University as part of the federal government’s High Achieving Teachers Program. Nexus offers a revolutionary new pathway into secondary teaching. Participants in the program must have completed an undergraduate degree in a discipline other than teaching and then study a Master of Teaching (Secondary) while gaining practical skills working as education support workers in a school. The program addresses a major challenge in regional and rural areas: that of attracting, preparing and retaining high-quality teachers in often hard-to-staff schools—a challenge well known across my electorate of Indi.

I recently met with the principal of Wodonga Senior Secondary College, Mr Vern Hilditch; Nexus academic coordinator at La Trobe University Albury-Wodonga Campus, Dr Stephanie Garoni; and two Nexus students, who are loving their placement at Wodonga Senior Secondary College. One student had moved to our region so he could join the program, and is planning to stay. The other student is a mother of young children, and Nexus allowed her to fulfil her dream of becoming a secondary teacher without having to leave the local area. I am proud that in Indi we have 31 students in the first year of this three-year Nexus program and recruitment is underway for next year. And we have six Nexus students are working in local secondary schools. I applaud La Trobe University for creating a practical solution to a longstanding issue of rural teacher recruitment and retainment. It will benefit many, but especially the young people in my electorate.

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