30 November 2015
Sisters Laura and Ellen Gavin are among a growing number of USC graduates swapping the coast for the country through the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Rural and Remote Education Bursary program, with the pair both securing teaching positions at Mt Isa.
The program provides opportunities for Primary Education students to undertake supervised teaching placements in rural and remote Queensland schools, through the financial support of a bursary funded by the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation.
Laura, 21, and Ellen, 23, are among 43 USC students who will be presented with bursaries by Tim Fairfax AC at a ceremony at the Innovation Centre Auditorium tomorrow, Tuesday 1 December, from 10.15am to noon.
Ellen completed her final practical placement at Happy Valley State School in Mount Isa in October, and was offered a position teaching Year 3 at the school in 2016. She said the bursary provided an opportunity to consider teaching in remote Queensland.
“I was a little hesitant at first, but the placement in Mount Isa was honestly the best thing I’ve done at university. I had so much fun,” Ellen said. “And before I start teaching next year I’ve already made some great friends and learned a lot about the school.
“It’s not cheap to travel to Mount Isa, so the bursary helped cover the cost of my flights and allowed me to hire a car while I was there. The experience wouldn’t have been possible without it.”
Laura undertook her final placement at Barcaldine State School, in Queensland’s central west, and has accepted a position teaching at Townview State Primary School. The sisters are planning to relocate to Mount Isa together in early January.
USC’s Education Partnerships and Professional Learning Coordinator Dennis James said at least nine of the 10 fourth-year students who participated in this year’s program had received permanent job offers, and several third-year students had been offered jobs upon graduation, which demonstrated the demand for USC graduates in rural schools.
“The bursaries are awarded based on students’ academic results, successful completion of a previous placement, and an interview that covers their knowledge of and passion for teaching, and the personal and professional attributes they will bring to a rural or remote community,” Mr James said.
“As a result, the principals and mentor teachers at placement schools go out of their way to welcome the students, because they know these will be among our highest-quality graduates.”
USC’s Development Office Director Russell Ousley said the upcoming presentation ceremony provided an opportunity to acknowledge the ongoing generosity of the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation, which had funded a total of 264 teaching placements for USC students over the past five years.
— Jarna Baudinette