La Trobe's national employability award

La Trobe University’s first-of-its-kind employment-based pathway into secondary teaching is a winner in the Australian Financial Review’s 2022 Higher Education Awards.

The Nexus Program – which mentors and prepares selected candidates to teach in socio-economically challenged, culturally diverse and hard-to-staff schools – won the ‘Employability’ category in this year’s awards.

Dean of La Trobe’s School of Education, Professor Joanna Barbousas, said she was thrilled that the program was recognised for its innovative design, and success in helping prepare teachers for the classroom.

“Our intention was always to prepare teachers for employment in rural, regional and low socio-economic schools across Victoria – to help address some of those critical workforce shortages, and also give passionate people a supportive pathway to their chosen career,” Professor Barbousas said.

“Our first Nexus graduates, who graduated last year, are already making a difference in their communities – and many more are in the pipeline to start filling those gaps.”

Professor Barbousas said the program enables students, from their first year of the program, to work in classrooms while receiving mentoring and professional development opportunities.

“There’s no better way to prepare future teachers than by allowing them to learn on the ground, in a real-life classroom situation,” Professor Barbousas said.

“We know our Nexus graduates are ready to embrace the opportunities and challenges of teaching, and have a passion to work in schools that really need them – which is a win for the students, and those communities.”

Two other innovative La Trobe programs were also finalists in this year’s AFR Awards:

  • La Trobe University’s Science of Language and Reading (SOLAR) Lab was a finalist in the Community Engagement category, for enabling school communities to adopt well-established, scientific approaches to improve how they teach children to read. The SOLAR Lab’s short courses have attracted 6,000 participants since launching in late 2020.
  • Dr Jennifer Jones’ unique ‘Gone Bush’ program was a finalist in the Teaching and Learning category, for providing an immersive educational experience, improving educational outcomes of regional students through its focus on authentic rural voices and pluralist approaches to history. The place-based subject includes a centrepiece four-day experience to The Man From Snowy River Bush Festival in remote North East Victoria.

The AFR Higher Education Awards is a special yearly event dedicated to recognising the remarkable contributions that tertiary institutions have made to the Australian community over the year.

Media Contact - Kate O’Connor, 0436 189 629, k.o’