A new program to curb the tide of teachers abandoning the profession due to stress has been launched.
Deakin University academics have partnered with south-west community education initiative Beyond the Bell to present the Graduate Teachers Professional Learning Program, which promises to support teaching alumni by hosting face-to-face and online seminars.
The sessions focus on professional practice, identify and wellbeing while providing opportunities for participants to build peer support networks.
Deakin Warrnambool campus director Alistair McCosh said he hoped the program would lead to the development of similar initiatives and resources offered nationally.
"The aim of this project is to assist our schools in retaining our graduate teachers to become long term teachers in our region and supporting our young people to succeed in their education," he said.
Deakin Warrnambool student Harry Donnelly said he would "absolutely" take part in the program.
Mr Donnelly is in his fourth and final year of a Bachelor of Education.
"It's about building peer relationships for fresh graduate teachers, having people who are in the same position around you and just improving confidence," he told The Standard.
"I'll definitely try to get into a program like that, anything to help me."
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It comes as the nation faces a crippling teacher shortage with one in five Victorian teachers leaving the profession soon after graduating.
Mr Donnelly, less than a year from graduating, said he found the figures concerning.
"It's not the best piece of data for someone who's just studied for four years," he said.
Research for Educational Impact director professor Julianne Moss said high workloads, long hours, tough parent-teacher relationships and administrative burdens had made the profession difficult for education staff.
"We know that retaining teachers, particularly graduate educators with their entire careers ahead of them, is an important part of addressing these serious staff shortages," she said.
A 2021 Youth Conversations Research Report by Deakin's School of Education found many young people in Victoria's Great South Coast felt the quality of school programs was inconsistent in the region.
Community organisation Beyond the Bell, which works to increase student engagement in south-west schools, contributed $83,311 to launch the seminar series.
Beyond the Bell executive officer Davina Forth said dwindling teacher numbers were a concerning issue that had wider ramifications for students' education.
"Research has shown there is a high rate of teachers leaving the profession in the first five years of entering a school setting. Some estimates are as high as 30 to 50 per cent," she said.
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