University of the Sunshine Coast – Rural and Remote Education Program
Education students at USC are required to complete four school placements to support their workplace learning and experience. Recognising that the majority of Queensland state schools are in rural and regional areas, and that it is difficult to attract and retain new teaching staff in these areas, in 2010 USC created the Rural and Remote Education Program to address this gap.
The program provides students with opportunities to engage with rural, regional and remote communities while providing financial support for them to undertake teaching placements in these areas. This exposure is specifically designed to encourage and adequately prepare new graduates to take up teaching positions in rural, regional and remote Queensland once they graduate.
Since 2010, 232 USC Education students have completed a supported placement within the Program, with almost 50% of students completing this in their final year of study. Communities in which students have received placements include Blackbutt, Blackwater, Cairns, Charleville, Cooktown, Emerald, Monto, Mornington Island, Mt Isa, Pormpuraaw, Roma and Yarrabah. Since inception over 50 students have accepted employment in rural, regional or remote schools after graduating and have been located all over the state including Capella, Doomadgee, Goondiwindi, Kowanyama, Longreach, Lockhart River, Oakey, Pormpuraaw and Wondai.
Feedback from both participants and recipient schools has been overwhelmingly positive, and many participants speak of the transformative potential of the program.
“This rural placement has not only helped me to develop as a teacher, it has changed my perception of working in rural and remote towns, from something I wasn’t quite sure about, to something that I would be really excited to be a part of.” – Anthony Gronert, program participant
“We are happy to say that the four USC students who attended placement at Roma State College in term 4, 2015, with the assistance of Fairfax scholarships, have all been offered permanent jobs upon graduating. This opportunity is only because of the support and vision of your program.” – Mr Anthony Green, Principal, Roma State College