A new partnership between Wimmera schools and three Victorian universities plans to attract and retain the next generation of teachers to the region.
The Horsham Alliance of Schools was launched at Federation University on Wednesday, March 23.
The alliance partners 11 Wimmera public and private schools with Federation University, Australian Catholic University and Deakin University with an aim to increase the amount of pre-service student teachers coming out to the region.
Horsham Schools Alliance site director Liz Moody said the alliance would provide an increased level of support to student teachers to help them look further afield than Melbourne for their career prospects.
"Like a lot of industries at the moment, during COVID and even previously, a lot of employees are reluctant to travel further than five to 10 kilometres from their family home," she said.
"We are trying to immerse them in the community here. We have had such an overwhelming response from our principals that they are very keen to have pre-service teachers in this area."
Horsham College, St Brigid's, Holy Trinity Lutheran, Murtoa College, Dimboola Memorial Secondary College, ETC will form the core membership of the school alliance.
Murtoa College principal Shannon Argall said the school was keen to have student teachers come from Melbourne, as finding regional teachers was often difficult.
"I think it is great to have the three universities working together to encourage students to come out and do their placements here," he said.
"Staffing is incredibly difficult, especially in rural and regional schools, and where we have universities working in partnership and working with schools I think that is great because we will have more graduates coming through that are open to working out here.
"Once they work here and see the area, they will fall in love with it."
Placements at the member schools will begin in the coming weeks, with five students from Deakin University set to start 10-day placements toward the end of term one.
Ms Moody said the terms of placements will vary from 10 days to up to four weeks.
"We have got five people coming from Melbourne starting at the end of this term. I spoke to them on a Zoom meeting this morning and they were very excited at the prospect of going away. It will be a great opportunity
"There are lots of advantages of being part of this alliance. The pre-service teachers will have me as a site director coming to visit them at school during those teacher placements."
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