More than 100 recent graduates from 22 Catholic Schools Parramatta Diocese (CSPD) schools are about to embark on teaching degrees with the support of the new CSPD Teacher Scholarship program.

Announced in September 2023, the program gives students financial support, work experience and opportunities for paid employment in a CSPD school and access to exclusive mentoring and professional development while being supported by highly experienced educators. Students also receive a new laptop at the commencement of their degree.

“One of the things we're really excited to provide for these students is the potential for paid employment,” said Jane Nethery, CSPD Early Talent Manager. “If we can actually get them in the classroom at a very early stage, the quality of their teaching will be so much better. And so we'll be offering them associate teacher positions so they can experience teaching very early and continue to develop their skills and confidence in a classroom setting.”

Recipients of the CSPD Teacher Scholarship program

The inaugural scholarship recipients attended a series of special launch events at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta where they heard from leaders in the CSPD Learning, Mission, Wellbeing, Jarara Cultural Centre and People & Culture teams.

“The great thing about this program is that it offers so much more than what they're going to get at university,” said Jane. “We know that some of our early career teachers come out of university and don't always have the skills and confidence to start teaching straight away. This program focuses on providing further professional development, networking as well as mentoring and coaching support to help students be the best possible teachers.”

2024 Recipients of the CSPD Teacher Scholarship program

Students were excited to meet fellow scholarship recipients and look forward to joining them in special ‘coaching pods’. The pods will see ten to eleven students studying similar courses meet regularly to collaborate and support each other throughout their degree.

“If you want to become a teacher, the CSPD teacher scholarship program is fantastic,” said Darcy Contreras, a recent Year 12 graduate from St Patrick’s Marist College Dundas. “It gives you so much more than you expect. It gives you opportunities, not only teaching opportunities in Catholic schools but also your own development in teaching. It gives you financial support and the support of experienced teachers and fellow students, giving you the confidence that you can become a successful teacher.”

“The environment created for us through this program is so good,” added Darcy’s new friend and fellow scholarship recipient Yasmine Zayat who finished Year 12 at Caroline Chisholm College Glenmore Park last year. “You’re not doing it on your own. You're doing it with other people similar to your age and you're doing it together and helping each other.”

CSPD will publish monthly newsletters that include top teaching tips, wellbeing advice and job advertisements. There will also be special networking and professional development days where students can collaborate and learn evidence-based practices that support high quality learning and teaching as well as student wellbeing.

2024 Recipients of the CSPD Teacher Scholarship program

“This program will ensure we have graduates ready to teach in our schools in four years’ time,” said Daniel Lynch, CSPD Head People & Culture. “We think this is a really great way of engaging students who've been in our schools over the last 12 to 13 years.”

2024 Recipients of the CSPD Teacher Scholarship program

The program also focuses on support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students wanting to go into teaching. Five Aboriginal students secured a scholarship for 2024 and CSPD hopes many more will take up the opportunity in coming years. Plans are in place to help these students co-design their support structures for the program.

“We are so excited that you are on this path,” said Julie Waddell, Jarara Cultural Centre Lead. “As a very proud kindergarten teacher, hallelujah, because we need you guys. Education changes the world. Congratulations and my heartfelt welcome.”

Many of the students taking up the scholarship expressed the inspiration for their interest in teaching as having come from teachers they encountered during their time at CSPD schools.

“I wanted to become a teacher because of an amazing teacher I had at primary school,” said Keira Field, a recent Year 12 graduate from St John XXIII Catholic College Stanhope Gardens. “She made me feel so welcome and she had a big influence on the person I am today. Knowing that I might one day have the opportunity to have a similar influence on a young person is amazing and fills me with lots of excitement for the future.”

2024 Recipients of the CSPD Teacher Scholarship program

“I’ve been inspired to become a teacher by my Year 11 and 12 Earth and Environment teacher,” said Zac Kemble, who finished Year 12 at Bede Polding College South Windsor last year. “He inspired me to want to pursue knowledge and share that knowledge with others. Through teaching, I can help others and make a real difference in this world.”

“I want to become a teacher because I had incredible teachers who supported me through my entire life,” said Ava Walsh, who completed secondary school at CathWest Innovation College. “My mum is a teacher and she is my role model. It was her supporting me and supporting other people and seeing that compassion and empathy that made me want to become a teacher. I want to be the kind of person who supports and is kind to everyone and has that level of empathy that teachers often do.”

Students spoke fondly of their time at CSPD schools and wanting to be a part of welcoming and inclusive school communities as adults.

“This scholarship allows me to reach for my goals and it encourages me to stay within the Parramatta Diocese,” said Elyce Joseph who attended both Catherine McAuley Westmead and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Primary Wentworthville. “I’m happy to do that because it’s been such a positive influence on me as a school student and can hopefully be the same positive influence on me as a teacher.”

Executive Director of Catholic Schools Jack de Groot is excited about the opportunity for graduates of Catholic schools in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains to work in local schools as future teachers.

"I’m so proud of our young graduates, and of our excellent local Catholic schools,” Jack said. “These outstanding young leaders are prime candidates to continue to make a contribution to Catholic education and to our community as future teachers.”

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Written By

Catholic Schools Parramatta Diocese

Catholic Schools Parramatta Diocese



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