Every person considering becoming an early childhood teacher should definitely search out and apply for scholarships, grants and awards.
Below is an outline of what is available and advice.
However, consider your financial, study and work options carefully.
If you apply for a TeachNZ scholarship you will have to stand out in some way as there are more applicants than scholarships. But do not let this put you off.
If you’re proficient in Te Reo or Pasifika you’ll apply for that particular language scholarship. These days most people growing up or living in New Zealand have, in some shape or form, knowledge, understanding and experience with Maori or Pasifika. Think hard about it, for example, your Maori language vocabulary is growing and your pronunciation is excellent thanks to your Maori school friends and rugby team mates. Make use of the guide that accompanies the application form which shows applications are also assessed for qualifications, achievements, leadership and evidence of community support for you to become a teacher.
Saving you quite a lot of money it is worth putting time and effort into your application. The TeachNZ scholarships are not means tested so you are eligible to apply regardless of previous income or assets.
Before receiving a TeachNZ scholarship you have to be accepted and enrolled with an approved ECE training provider. This means you would have already decided to make the commitment having worked out your finances and determined affordability. Perhaps it is best to think of the TeachNZ ECE scholarship as a wonderful bonus if lucky enough to get one. ‘Lucky’ because the number of scholarships have reduced. At least, at this stage, undergraduates and students seeking to do the graduate diploma in ECE are still eligible to receive a student allowance.
Check out https://generosity.org.nz It is worth making various searches to see if you might be eligible for some of the many study awards available. Some awards offer funding for any type of study so it is worth browsing the search results. From browsing results you may also gain ideas on organisations to approach such as local rotary clubs, churches and employers of relatives. To avoid paying a fee to use the database call into your local library or community centre.
Consider carefully all options including putting off study until you have saved enough. How much is enough depends on each individual’s circumstances but consider that course costs alone will be anywhere from $5000 to $10,000. Contacting WINZ (childcare subsidy), IRD (working for families) and Studylink (student allowances and loans) will give you an idea of how much funding and what subsidies you’ll receive if you study full-time. Also check to see how much you can earn until they begin reducing your allowances, e.g. you may lose $1 from your allowances for every $1 you earn over $80 per week.
If you complete your study early, e.g. a graduate diploma in one year, your hourly rate will go up as soon as you’re qualified so you’ll be earning a higher income earlier. Some full-time students also work full-time while studying but be wary of burn out and high stress, not to mention some training providers may not approve. Others go the other way and are able to extend their study, e.g. graduate diploma, over 18 months or 2 years thus enabling work while studying.
Studying while working is a popular option to not only help to subsidise the cost of study and living but also for hands-on practical experience and enjoyment. Approach early childhood centres to see if they would welcome you as an untrained teacher. Keep your eyes open for job vacancies offering prospective employees support for study and maybe discounted childcare if you have a child.
Before committing yourself work out your finances to determine affordability and consider all your options. Then, putting in the time and effort to search and apply for scholarships, grants and awards could prove fruitful.
Are you a male who is intending to study for an ECE teaching qualifiation? See information on applying for the Men in ECE Award
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