9 OCT 2019
G8 Education, Australia’s largest private provider of early education, today announced a flagship Bachelor Scholarship program that will enable it to meet teacher to student ratios which almost double from next year.
The full scholarship includes partnerships with Macquarie University, La Trobe University and Queensland University of Technology, a $15,000 study bonus, mentoring, workshops, and paid study time for educators working within one of G8’s 500-plus centres.
The scholarships are being offered to Diploma-qualified educators already working at one of G8 Education’s 500 early learning centres across the country.
G8 says the scholarship program, which has been under development in consultation with education enterprise Future Tracks since April, is the largest and most comprehensive offered in the early learning sector across Australia. It has been structured to reward and incentivise employees who have already demonstrated a passion for working in early childhood education.
G8 Education CEO Gary Carroll said the scholarship recognised the importance of early education to the future learning and wellbeing of children as well as the broader economy, highlighted in a recent landmark study by PWC, commissioned by The Front Project, which showed a return of $2 for every $1 invested in quality education in the year before school.
“This scholarship reaffirms G8 Education’s commitment to offering the very best standard of early education to the young people in our care,” said Mr Carroll.
“By extending the offer first to the 4500 Diploma-qualified educators already working with G8, we are honouring their commitment and loyalty, helping them to pursue their career ambitions through further study.
“One of the great challenges in the early learning sector is attracting and retaining good people and our scholarship program places a high value on those who have chosen early childhood learning as their vocation.
“We aim to double our number of qualified early childhood teachers, positioning ourselves as the leader in the early education sector.”
Mr Carroll said a school leaver could begin working at G8 as an unqualified educator, and progressively acquire Certificate III, Diploma and Bachelor qualifications, all while working in a profession they love.
From next year, preschools and long day care centres with more than 60 children will be required to employ two early childhood teachers working directly with children while those with fewer than 60, will require one, presenting a pressing deadline for the early learning sector.
Mr Carroll said PWC’s economic analysis of the benefits of early education provided evidence that money invested early in a child’s education delivered wide-reaching benefits.
“The evidence is all there to show that investing in early education leads to better engagement and achievement in school and improved social outcomes but there is pressure on the sector to provide the qualified teachers needed to achieve the desired outcomes,” said Mr Carroll.
Already close to 100 scholarship candidates have been identified in the early round offer with the final round of successful applicants set to be announced later this month.
G8 is currently in talks with its university partners seeking to have Diploma qualifications credited towards the four-year degree. QUT provides automatic credit for students entering the Bachelor program with a Diploma and has agreements in place with TAFE and larger private Registered Training Organisations.
The study bonus available to full scholarship students consists of $5000 when 50 per cent of course units are passed, $5000 at completion of all units, and $5000 one year after completion if they are still employed by G8.
Scholarship a life-changer for devoted mum and educator
When Shelby Kappler left school at 16, taking a job in a garden nursery, a university degree was never on the horizon. But more than 25 years later, with the help of a scholarship from her employer, G8 Education, she’s about to fulfil her long-held dream to become a Bachelor qualified early childhood teacher.
Tending flowers was never Shelby’s true vocation. But it wasn’t until she’d had two children of her own, raising them single-handed after the death of her husband, that she took the first step towards realising her dream.
Shelby is one of around 100 G8 educators with Diploma qualifications who have won scholarships to take their passion for early learning to the next level.
For the past decade she has worked in child care, gaining her diploma six years ago and working with three to four-year-olds at Community Kids Hampton Park in Melbourne.
At first she doubted that she could manage the degree or perhaps she was too old, but her sons, now 20 and 23 urged her to give it a go.
“They kept telling me, you can do it mum,” said Shelby, 42. “I’ve made sure that they followed their dreams and I realised that now it was my turn to do the same.”
The scholarship program allows Shelby to continue working and supporting her family, studying in her own time, with a $15,000 study bonus, mentoring, workshops and paid study time.
“I don’t think I could have done it without the scholarship,” says Shelby. “I don’t have to stop working or return to school.
“I love working with the older children and I’ve learned such a lot over the past 10 years. Having a degree to back up all those years of experience is going to open new doors for me and the children in my care.”