La Trobe | Nexus Program transforms teacher education

La Trobe
Awards category
The Future Builder Award
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The Nexus Program offers a unique employment-based pathway that is making a significant difference to teacher shortages in hard-to-staff schools in metropolitan, regional and rural geographic locations.  

The program gives professionals transitioning from different careers the opportunity to gain practical experience in a school environment while completing their masters of teaching degree. The program’s place-based approach prepares and mentors teaching candidates for economically, culturally diverse and high-needs schools across Victoria.

From their very first year, Nexus Program students work in classrooms while receiving mentoring and professional development opportunities. This hands-on experience ensures that Nexus graduates are not only classroom-ready but also equipped with the skills, experience and confidence necessary to make a real difference and significant impact in the classroom.  

A key factor in the program’s success is the strong collaboration between the university, schools and local communities. This partnership has led to remarkable outcomes with 86 per cent of Nexus graduates choosing and securing employment in low SES secondary schools across Victoria.

Finalist: Professor Joanna Barbousa and Miriam Tanti

“I consider the opportunity to be part of the NEXUS program a win / win for all involved. It provides the students a guaranteed two years in a school supplementing their learning at university as well as providing the school a valued and committed staff member. In their first year as an education support staff member, the students gain an authentic experience of both the day to day running of a school as well as the strategic forward planning. It is also during their first year that the students develop positive relationships with the students, staff, and parents within the school. These relationships certainly help the NEXUS students as they transition into teaching in the second year. During their second year, the students apply and build on their knowledge and skills of curriculum planning and assessment as well as pedagogy within their classes, supported closely by their mentor, along with all staff.  As a Principal, I am committed to my staff, parents, and students, but also to the development of preservice teachers. I strongly believe this program provides the best opportunity for the development of confident and skilled teachers.”


“Secondary teaching was a natural second career for me. Nexus jumped out as a program made to order for a career changer: challenging, academically rigorous, and designed to take advantage of established skills and resilience. I like that we are provided with classroom experience early on and that our experience is highly valued, with Nexus cultivating strong professional relationships between the pre-service teacher and school. Most of all, I feel that the program’s social justice commitment sets me up for a versatile career in teaching for the public good.”

Elliott Child

Nexus Graduate

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