High Achiever Initiative Will Boost the Status of Teaching

The Business Council of Australia has strongly welcomed the announcement by Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard of a new pathway for high-achieving people to teach in schools.

BCA President Greig Gailey said recruiting more of Australia’s most talented people into the teaching profession is an important contribution towards giving Australia’s children the best education in the world.

At the same time, such an initiative will build a generation of future leaders who understand intimately the challenges of education.

“Over recent years, teacher education courses have struggled to attract the cream of Australia’s young people,” Mr Gailey said.

“Added to this, many teachers have left the profession at early stages of their careers.

“These issues have been highlighted in the BCA’s education research. Most recently, our Teaching Talent report earlier this year named recruitment of talented teachers as the first of five essential school education reforms.

“Business is concerned that the teaching profession is not valued to the extent that it should be given the importance of giving Australian kids the best possible education.

“Allowing new pathways into school education for high-achieving people who have diverse qualifications can only strengthen teaching.

“This initiative will build new and broader forms of support for school education from business and the wider community. It will create new lifelong ambassadors for education in other sectors,” Mr Gailey said.

“Business leaders recognise that university graduates and people who are in the early stages of their careers want to make a contribution to the community in a way that extends beyond their chosen fields.

“An opportunity to teach for two years either before or in the early stages of a career is exactly the sort of contribution that enthusiastic businesspeople and other professionals are seeking.

“At the same time, gaining experience as a teacher, particularly in helping students from disadvantaged backgrounds with their learning, will develop the skills and attributes that prepare them not only for a successful career but to become leaders in their field.

“The BCA recognises the important work also undertaken by the Victorian Government in developing a pilot initiative to commence in 2010.

“We are pleased to offer our support to this important initiative and look forward to making a contributing to its implementation in the months ahead”, Mr Gailey said.