Works have begun in Ballarat to establish the state’s first regional Victorian Academy of Teaching and Leadership.
Seven regional hubs will open across Victoria, including Bendigo, Bairnsdale, Geelong, Mildura, Moe and Shepparton.
The Victorian government will spend $17 million dollars on the seven sites.
It is expected the academy will be an opportunity for teachers across the region to develop skills in technologies, professional practice, mental health training, and more.
The programs offered at the site will be offered to teachers at government, Catholic and independent schools.
Construction at the Camp Street site is expected to be completed by the end of 2022, and it is hoped the centre will be open by 2023. The site is a building owned by the Department of Education and was formerly the Ballarat Learning Exchange.
The flagship program provided at the facility will be the teaching excellence program, a one-year part-time course offering master classes, conferences, as well as training in specific disciplines.
“As well as that, we will have over 50 leadership programs for leaders at all stages of their journeys,” the Victorian Teaching and Leadership’s chief executive, Marcia Devlin, said.
“So, emerging leaders, assistant principals, aspiring principals, new principals … a whole range of programs for coaching, mentoring, and professional learning programs.”
Dr Devlin said following the pressures of the pandemic it became evident how teaching staff had to learn quickly to keep up with new ways to teach online and were actively seeking out ways to upskill.
“[In] digital online learning, remote learning, but also in mental health and emotional support for students and for themselves and each other teachers and leaders in the school,” she said.
Minister for Education Natalie Hutchins says the space will be “dynamic”, offering a multi-media “arts incubator” studio, to be a space to explore skills in video, TV and sound production.
“We’re aiming to have it open early next year … pending that we get all the materials on site, which is always a challenge for any of our building projects at the moment,” Ms Hutchins said.
“We will see the results come through both mentoring, training, but also maintaining our teaching staff.”
The Ballarat Victorian Academy of Teaching and Leadership will offer ongoing positions for on-site officers.
“The government has made $148 million dollar investment in teaching our teachers across the state,” Ms Hutchins said.
“What this facility is about is keeping our teachers skilled up with the latest technology, the latest teaching, [and] to be able to see the benefits in our classrooms.”
Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison is a former teacher and stressed the importance of upskilling as a learning professional.
“It’s so important … to make sure our students are getting the best out of every class,” she said.
“By making our teachers world-best … our students are getting the best options inside and outside the classroom.”
“We know what a fantastic job our teachers do in supporting our youngest Victorians and this is a way we can support them,” member for Buninyong Michaela Settle said.