Studying to become a secondary school teacher will be free in Victoria, as the Andrews Labor Government tries to boost staff shortages.
Scholarships will be part of a $229.8 million package to help grow the school workforce, and an investment of $93.2 million will provide support to students in teaching degrees to assist with studying and living costs.
The scholarships will be available to all students who enrol in secondary school teaching degrees in 2024 and 2025. Final payments will be available to those who work in Victorian government schools for two years after they graduate.
Also read: The most and least ethical Aussie jobs
Also read: Aussie workers owed share of $4.8 billion
Premier Daniel Andrews hopes the scholarship will bring in more teaching staff to the state.
"Teachers change lives — it's as simple as that. This will mean one less barrier for Victorians thinking of a career in teaching, and more great teachers for the education state," he said.
The scholarships are set to support around 4,000 future teachers each year and a further $27 million will continue and expand the Targeted Financial Incentives Program — providing incentives of up to $50,000 to teachers from Victoria, interstate and overseas to take up rural, remote and hard-to-staff positions in government schools.
The scholarship will match HELP fees — $18,000 for a four-year undergraduate program or $9,000 for two years of postgraduate study.
$95.7 million will be used to expand the Australian-first Career Start initiative to support and retain teachers, while an investment of almost $13.9 million will support a trial of employment-based degrees for undergraduates. The program, starting in 2025, will allow people to study and qualify as a teacher while undertaking paid work at a school.
"The number of teachers in Victoria is increasing and that's no accident — we're delivering a range of initiatives that have helped grow the number of registered teachers in Victoria by nearly 5,000 between 2020 and 2022," Minister for Education Natalie Hutchins said.