Cairns Catholic Education has partnered with Australian Catholic University to attract pre-service teachers to the Cairns Diocese.
A scholarship is available to ACU students that includes supporting them with accommodation assistance and living expenses while in far northern Catholic schools for the duration of their Practicum.
Cordial House, a property the Cairns Diocese purchased in Parramatta Park last year, is being used to accommodate pre-service teachers coming to Cairns from ACU.
Initiated in 2016, it is hoped to expand the scholarship programme further to include other universities. The scholarship is an initiative that is part of Cairns Catholic Education’s commitment to attract, develop and retain graduate teachers at schools in the region.
Winning a Cairns Catholic Education scholarship in 2016 to do their practicum teacher training in Far North Queensland made a significant impact on the lives of five students from the Australian Catholic University in Brisbane.
Leah Bool, Adam Halliday, Emily Jinks, Lara Gill and Grace Stephens spent six weeks in Far North Queensland, teaching at Catholic schools in Cairns and on the Tablelands after receiving the newly offered scholarships.
Now they all want to come back.
Read their stories:
Emily Jinks had never been north of Brisbane before she won a Cairns Catholic Education scholarship to teach at St Thomas’ School in Mareeba.
While the small-town atmosphere of Mareeba was a far cry from the hustle and bustle of Brisbane, where her family moved from Newcastle when she was six years old, Emily “absolutely loved” her time in Far North Queensland. So much so, she wants to come back to teach in a Cairns Catholic school.
“I just loved everything about being here,” she said. “I would 100 percent really love to teach up here in a Catholic school.”
Whether it was because of divine intervention or just plain good luck, Adam Halliday from Redliffe, Brisbane, found himself exactly where he wanted to be when he won a scholarship with Cairns Catholic Education.
“I was thinking about coming come up to FNQ to do my last prac,” said Adam, who is about to attain his teaching degree from the Australian Catholic University in Brisbane after four years of study.
“It was just great timing that the scholarship opportunity came up. I applied about 3.5 seconds after I heard about it!”
Adam won a scholarship and did a six-week prac in Far North Queensland at St Joseph’s School, Parramatta Park.
Brisbane mother-of-three Leah Bool hadn’t been to Cairns before winning one of five Cairns Catholic Education scholarships to do practicum teaching in the tropical north. While it was hard for her to leave her family at home for six weeks, she not only thoroughly enjoyed her time here, she wants to come back.
“I loved the lifestyle and the people there,” she said. “I really enjoyed it. I’d love to come back with the family and live in Cairns and work at a Catholic school.”
Leah can’t thank CES and St Monica’s enough for the opportunity.
“The Cairns Catholic Education scholarship was huge for me,” she said. “That meant I was able to come here without feeling that financial pressure of having to support myself when I have a small family at home.”
Going from Brisbane, with its population of over two million people, to the small township of Dimbulah which has less than 1,500 people, was a big change for Lara Gill, one of five recipients of Cairns Catholic Education’s scholarships for practicum teachers.
While Lara had been to Cairns before on holidays with her family, she had never been to the Tablelands.
“It’s very different from Brisbane,” said Lara, who was born and bred in Queensland’s capital and came to St Anthony’s in Dimbulah, thanks to the Cairns Catholic Education scholarship offered at Australian Catholic University in Brisbane.
“It’s just lovely in Dimbulah and at St Anthony’s. It was a good change and it opened my eyes to the possibilities that are out there for teaching next year – I just loved it.”
Grace Stephens was more than impressed with the Cairns Catholic Education scholarship she won to do her prac teaching at St Michael’s, Gordonvale.
“They had our accommodation all ready for us, which was fantastic,” said Grace, who drove from Brisbane in her own car.
“But what really surprised me was they put fuel money in my account each week. I phoned them up to tell them they made a mistake putting extra money in my account, and that’s when I found out they were giving me petrol money.
“I was shocked and very surprised at how helpful they were.”