Job stability, lifestyle factors and opportunities for growth are enticing Far North workers to reskill as teachers.
Almost half the 12 recipients of the Cairns Catholic Education Final Year Education Scholarship are mature age students changing careers after years in other fields, including accounting, arts, engineering, fitness, and science.
Julia Seifert and Katelyn Hall are in their final year of studying a Master of Teaching (Secondary). Julia previously worked as a science research assistant in Vienna, Austria, while Katelyn took on project management roles as a civil engineer in Cairns.
“I started tutoring high school students after I moved back to Cairns, and I really enjoyed that,” Julia said.
“It was rewarding seeing the progress they were making, seeing that they were really grasping the concepts.”
“I also love to travel, so the holiday periods are great, and at some point, I would love to teach overseas.”
Katelyn grew up watching her mother inspire others as a teacher.
“I see how much joy and passion she has for her job, and I think it would be awesome to have a job where you find that same sense of passion,” she said.
“COVID was the little push I needed to take the plunge and do teaching, because engineering work was quieter. And I’m really happy that I’ve made the jump.”
Scholarship recipients receive $1000 and ongoing support and practical assistance as they step into their career.
Five graduating Year 12 students have also received full scholarships, which include HECS fees paid for four years, mentoring and guaranteed employment as a teacher within the Cairns Diocese.
Recipients were celebrated at an afternoon tea attended by key stakeholders, including Cairns Catholic Education Services Deputy Executive Director Ian Davis and Cairns Catholic Education Services Director of Workforce Capability Marissa Clark.
“We are focused on growing our own, future-proof workforce here in Cairns,” Ms Clark said.
“A combination of increasing retirement rates, and a growing student population means there is a national teacher shortage. This also means there has never been a better time to consider a career in teaching. There is a high demand for teachers and plenty of incredible opportunities.”
“The pandemic has also led to a deeper appreciation and respect for teachers. Parents have gained new insights into the complexities of teaching, after experiencing it firsthand during at-home learning.”
Cassie Bale, who graduated from Mareeba’s St Stephen’s Catholic College in 2021, said he had always wanted to be a teacher.
“I loved high school. You see the teachers that want to make a difference and you want to be like them. I want to make a difference in students’ lives,” he said.
“The scholarship will help me with more opportunities and to get my foot in the door, and it really relieves the burden of fees.”
Graduate teachers have a very attractive starting salary of $75,470 and roles in rural and remote areas often attract additional allowances.
For more information about employment with Cairns Catholic Education, visit: cairnscatholicschools.com.au/general-recruitment