Overcoming Barriers for Trainees in Schools

Overcoming Barriers for Trainees in Schools


In this blog, AFL SportsReady Field Officer Brad Mielicki discusses the challenges faced by Teachers. Including declining numbers post-pandemic.
He highlights the added barriers Trainees encounter when entering the school environment and emphasises the crucial role of schools, Teachers and AFL SportsReady in supporting Trainees.

Brad also highlights the benefits for host schools, in having Trainees assist with various tasks, ultimately kickstarting a successful career for young people.

Teaching is a tough profession at the best of times. Rewarding, sure, but the burden on Teachers is enormous.

Over the last few years teaching numbers are declining, especially post-pandemic. Where the expectations of Teachers were highlighted by parents and administrators.

Teaching has become more time-consuming and demanding.

Teachers are facing heavy administrative burdens, managing students’ social and behavioural challenges. Large class sizes have also been making it difficult for Teachers to meet the individual needs of students. These are some of the reasons why there is a shortage of qualified Teachers here in Australia (and globally). Teaching is an enormous responsibility and in order to effectively teach our children, Teachers need to overcome many barriers.

Our current generation of Trainees (particularly in Victoria) has also endured huge disruptions to their school experience due to unprecedented lockdowns for nearly 3 years.

With limited or intermittent face-to-face contact their soft skills, such as:

Conflict management
Stress management
And workplace relations to name a few

Have been grossly underused, therefore having a detrimental effect on the development of their interpersonal skills. With all the barriers they face, it’s a phenomenal effort to get to the starting line. Let alone complete a Traineeship in this environment.

[Brad and Abe Sladden at Holy Rosary Primary School]

Now let’s look at the added barriers a Trainee coming into the school environment for the first time would face

Starting a new job is listed as one of life’s most stressful events. Imagine the psychological effects of a new Trainee coming into a school environment, where they are expected to go from student to role model over the period of a summer break.

For example, in December, a Trainee is taking directions from their Teacher, Mr. Smith. In February, they are Alumni addressing Mr. Smith as John and working alongside him. This is the real scenario Trainee’s face when entering a Traineeship within the school which they attended. From the Trainee side of things there is still a power imbalance.

How can we bridge the gap? Well, this happens naturally with time and experience as the Trainee gains confidence in their new role and identity.

How the Trainee is Supported During the Transition

Our schools and Teachers have a big role to play here. The host employer and supervisor can have a huge impact on the Trainee’s experience. From my experience as a Field Officer, I see the bonds that are formed between host supervisor and Trainee and over time their confidence grows and the psychological power imbalance has been closed.

AFLSR also have an important role to play, from our Field Officers to our Educators, Administration staff all the way up to management and our CEO. We help nurture and support our Trainees on their journey, by listening to them, encouraging them and being responsive to their needs.

Another great initiative from some of our regional schools is to send them on a leadership camp by the name of the Mandala Project. The three-day camp is an intensive introduction to the fundamentals of leadership in relation to their role as a Trainee. The Trainee Development Program aims to provide a theoretical and practical knowledge base on leadership, communication and team building. The schools and Trainees involved in this initiative have provided positive feedback for the program.

The end result is a win for everyone involved

Our host schools and qualified Teachers reap the benefits of having a Trainee throughout the school year, the Trainees often do the everyday tasks that free Teachers to better spend their time developing programs and teaching. There are no limitations to how the Trainee can assist, including administrative tasks, hands-on support in and out of class, organising sports carnivals, attending camps, excursions and school functions.

However, each year with all the resources and support they get through it with overwhelming success. The development from the start of the year to the end is amazing. The skills they learn are transferable to all industries and the connections they make and confidence they get, help them kick-start a career, whether that be in education or another industry.

With over 29 years of experience providing quality job opportunities and launching the careers of thousands of young Australians. AFL SportsReady offers diverse and thrilling opportunities that could take your career to the next level.

If you’re just starting out in your career or looking to take it in a new direction. AFL SportsReady has something to offer. With a commitment to quality training and support. You can be sure that you’ll have the tools you need to succeed.

Kickstart your career today by exploring available Traineeships.

Filling out our Expressions of Interest Form is a useful step if you are unable to find a specific job opening. This helps us identify candidates for future opportunities and reach out if a relevant opportunity becomes available.

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