The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that this year has been a tumultuous one for many of us, and even more so for those who work in education and health.
As Vice-Chancellor and President of Federation University Australia, I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of the education and health providers who have exceeded all expectations to make this year’s placement program a huge success in this challenging climate.
Our local schools, kindergartens, childcare centres, hospitals, aged care facilities and medical centres have played a crucial role in offering student placements to our future health care workers and educators in order to give them the vital skills they will carry throughout their careers.
During a year of uncertainty and change, this has not always been easy. Staff at healthcare and education providers across Victoria have gone to significant lengths to ensure Federation University students could complete their placements.
Not only have they adjusted to changes in their own day-to-day roles, but they have also offered what students tell me have been exemplary experiences in their chosen fields.
Teachers who were adapting to their own online lessons, provided our students with crucial experience presenting live maths and literacy sessions, engaging with students where possible, and using a range of different teaching platforms.
Similarly, nurses and other health staff offered invaluable experience to students while also adapting to the significant changes of their own workplaces and roles.
All of this occurred alongside new social distancing and travel requirements, stringent hygiene processes and screening measures designed to ensure the safety of students, staff and the community.
As a result of the commitment of healthcare and education providers, in collaboration with Federation, most students across Berwick, Gippsland, Horsham and Ballarat campuses were fortunate to have been able to complete their placements. Where that was not possible, health services and education providers are continuing to work with us to accommodate any outstanding placements.
I am in no doubt of the crucial part educators and healthcare staff – our essential workers – play in our community. While many of us were confined to our homes, these individuals continued to care for and educate the most vulnerable members of our community with grace and determination.
At Federation, we are incredibly grateful to all of those who have made it possible for the essential workers of tomorrow to complete the placements that will ensure they can confidently and effectively take their places in the workforce of the future. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you!
Professor Duncan Bentley
Vice-Chancellor and President of Federation University Australia