SCU student teachers get the jump on jobs

Published 13 October 2003

Two final-year education students at Southern Cross University (SCU) are among a select group already offered jobs through the NSW Department of Education and Training before they’ve even completed their degrees.

Adam O’Connor, 32, and Michelle Eske, 22, have both been offered jobs at Young Technology High School, in south-western NSW, next year.

“Receiving an offer to teach in a school before the completion of an award is a rare privilege available only to those who demonstrate excellence in their coursework,” Head of SCU’s School of Education, Professor Martin Hayden, said.

“It shows our students are competing well with other universities, and that there are lots of good job opportunities for teaching graduates,” Professor Hayden said.

The students applied half-way through the year for the Department of Education and Training (DET)’s Graduate Recruitment program. They had to undergo interviews, submit their results and reports of their practical experience teaching classes.

Mr O’Connor, currently living in Goonellabah, is about to complete a Diploma of Education at SCU, following on from a Bachelor of Contemporary Music which he completed at SCU in 1995. He worked in Brisbane for a few years, before deciding to do a Dip Ed this year. Mr O’Connor, who is married with two young children, will be teaching music next year.

“I had no problems finding work after my first degree, but most of it was unrelated to music, so music became part-time,” he said. “I worked out I only needed my Dip Ed to get involved in teaching music full-time, and also to get a much more focussed career.

“I’m now secure, which feels very good. I’ve researched Young a bit and it looks like a lovely town.”

Ms Eske, currently living in Lismore, is one of SCU’s first graduates of a combined Bachelor of Education/ Bachelor of Applied Science. She will be teaching science in Young.

“It’s fantastic to know I have a job waiting for me,” Ms Eske said. “I can hardly wait.

“I come from Caboolture, near the Sunshine Coast (in Queensland). I initially wanted to do Applied Science and Southern Cross University was the only uni offering Coastal Management,” she said. She did two years of a combined Law/ Applied Science degree at SCU before switching to Education/Applied Science in 2001.

“All my friends went to universities around Brisbane but I wanted to study away from home. I found studying at SCU awesome and the lecturers were fantastic. I’m living in a college on campus which is a great idea as well. If I had any problems I got a lot of help from other students who were in more senior years.”

Ms Eske put on her DET application she was happy to work anywhere but Sydney.

“I like breaking away from that fast-paced city life. I absolutely loved my prac teaching and am really looking forward to getting to Young and meeting new people and teaching.”

SCU’s School of Education has experienced strong demand in recent years, trebling in size over the past five years. For more information about a teaching degree contact SCU Student Services Ph: 02 6620 3452 or see www.scu.edu.au/education/.

Media contact: Sara Crowe or Kath Duncan Ph: 6620 3144 or 0417 235 154.

13 October 2003