National Teacher Workforce Action Plan
The government has released its draft National Teacher Workforce Action Plan. This is the first time a plan about the profession has been open to contributions from teachers. The AEU will be consulting members to create its submission – highlighting the unsustainable levels of stress and burnout arising from a lack of professional recognition and respect, poor pay and conditions, high workloads and inequitable schools funding. The union will caution against short-term fixes that would undermine quality in teacher education.
Broadening the field for people with disability
Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott has launched a new website to help disabled people find employment, in an attempt to stop ongoing discrimination in recruitment practices. With $6 million in funding from the federal government, ‘The Field’ website has been created by disabled people to match job hunters with inclusive employers and provide information on accessible workplaces.
Turning point for higher education
Labor will reverse the Coalition’s decision to dramatically raise university fees for humanities, law and business courses as part of its ‘Australian universities accord’. The accord is a partnership between universities, staff, unions, business, students, and other stakeholders, to build a long-term plan for the tertiary sector. The Coalition doubled university fees for humanities (to $43,500 for a three-year degree), while fees were reduced for in-demand areas.
Scholarships to study teaching
The federal government will offer scholarships of up to $10,000 a year to school leavers with an ATAR of 80 or above as part of its plan to address teacher shortages. An extra $2,000 a year will also be available to students who complete their final-year placement in a regional area. Costing $56.2m over four years, the measure will run in tandem with an existing program to attract another 1,500 people with a background in maths and science to retrain as teachers.
Reforms to safeguard apprentice safety
The state government will introduce an Apprenticeships Taskforce to make Victorian apprenticeships fairer and safer. Around half of apprentices nationwide quit their training, with the majority citing workplace issues – wage theft, unsafe workplace practices, and bullying and harassment – and not the quality of their education, as the reason. The Apprenticeships Taskforce will improve regulation and oversight, simplify complaint reporting, increase employer accountability and establish more rigorous bans on employers who have mistreated apprentices.