Policy last updated

28 May 2024


  • Schools

November 2023



This policy supports implementation of the Career Start program.


Career Start supports first-year graduate teachers to successfully transition into the classroom. This includes:

  • a reduction in face-to-face teaching
  • time with a dedicated mentor to accelerate the development of their teaching practice
  • networking opportunities with other graduates via a local learning alliance
  • professional learning designed to develop their professional identity, wellbeing and orientation.

Career Start mentor teachers are also supported via:

  • time release to engage in extended practice-focused mentoring with their graduates – schools can refer to the guidance chapter on Time release for graduate and mentor teachers for further details
  • one-on-one support from learning alliance leaders to build their mentoring skills.


Career Start is a structured program for graduate teachers which aims to improve their experience as they are inducted into the profession. Career Start provides time release, mentoring, professional development opportunities and a range of additional supports to graduate teachers and their mentors to accelerate the development of graduate teachers’ professional practice and support their wellbeing.

Following a successful 3-year pilot in primary and special schools in 3 areas, Career Start will expand in 2024 to support eligible graduate teachers in every Victorian government school (including secondary schools) in:

  • inner Gippsland
  • north eastern Melbourne
  • outer eastern Melbourne
  • southern Melbourne
  • western Melbourne.

In 2025, Career Start will expand to an additional 8 areas – Hume Merri-bek, Brimbank Melton, Goulburn, Ovens-Murray, Mallee, Outer Gippsland, Barwon, and Central Highlands.


The department will utilise eduPay data to identify eligible graduate teachers.

Graduate teachers will participate in the Career Start program in 2024 if they:

  • commenced their first period of employment within the Victorian government school system on or after 1 July 2023
  • are employed at the classification of Classroom Teacher Range 1-1 (CT1-1) at a Victorian government school within the participating areas, as outlined above.


For further information on the Career Start program, please email:



This guidance includes the following chapters:

  • Time release for graduate and mentor teachers
  • Use of time release
  • Mentor teacher selection
  • Support for schools

Time release for graduate and mentor teachers

Time release for graduate and mentor teachers

Graduate teachers and mentors receive time release from face-to-face teaching duties to engage in Career Start activities, including practice-focused mentoring, learning alliances and professional learning.

Career Start time release is allocated in addition to any reduction to face-to-face teaching duties provided as part of the 5% weekly reduction in scheduled duties per the Victorian Government Schools Agreement (VGSA) 2022.

As part of school workforce planning, schools should consider how they can best facilitate the time release for their graduate and mentor teachers. Career Start funding is provided to employ teachers to cover the year-long reduction in graduate and mentor teachers’ duties, and ad hoc use of casual relief teachers should be avoided. This will ensure the time release is regular and scheduled, and minimises disruption to teaching continuity in the classroom.

Schools will receive additional funds via the Student Resource Package to facilitate the reduction in face-to-face teaching duties. The time reduction for graduate teachers will be funded at a rate equivalent to a Range 2, Level 4 classroom teacher. Similarly, the time reduction for mentor teachers will be funded at a rate equivalent to a Range 2, Level 6 classroom teacher.

Career Start graduate teachers

Graduate teachers participating in the Career Start program in 2024 will receive time release from their face-to-face teaching duties.

Career Start time release for graduate teachers is indicated as a per-week average, but schools are encouraged to tailor the time release week-to-week across the term to meet the fluctuating needs of their staffing profile and ensure graduate teachers can attend full-day workshops and related Career Start alliance activities. Schools can speak to their Learning Alliance Leader for examples of how to implement time release and to discuss how to tailor it to their context.

Table 1 details time release for different school types on a weekly average and 10-week termly basis.

Table 1: Weekly and termly time release for graduate teachers
School typeCareer Start average weekly reduction to face-to-face teaching dutiesTotal reduction in face-to-face teaching duties for a 10 week term
Primary, Special and P9/12 schools1 hour and 57 minutes19 hours and 30 minutes
Secondary schools1 hour and 34.5 minutes15 hours and 45 minutes

A pro-rata time allowance applies to graduate teachers employed on a part-time basis.

For more information on Career Start participation requirements, refer to: the Use of time release guidance chapter.

For more information on the Victorian Government Schools Agreement, refer to Industrial Agreements.

Career Start mentor teachers

Mentor teachers benefit from being involved in Career Start with access to dedicated time release and professional learning focussed on evidence-based best practice. Career Start mentorship is an opportunity to develop leadership capabilities and provides a pathway to middle leadership for experienced teachers.

Mentor teachers receive a 1 hour weekly reduction in face-to-face teaching duties. Mentors supporting more than one Career Start graduate teacher will receive the 1 hour weekly reduction for each graduate they mentor.

Use of time release

Use of time release

Time release is provided to graduate teachers and their mentors to engage in induction supports, including:

  • practice-focused mentoring
  • learning alliances
  • professional learning.

Practice-focused mentoring

Graduates and mentors observe each others’ teaching, engage in conversations about professional practice, and design and moderate assessment tasks to develop effective teaching practices. Practice-focused mentoring also includes engaging in conversations about wellbeing, professional identity, and work-life balance to help graduate teachers thrive.

Learning alliances

Graduates and mentors are part of local learning alliances, led by a dedicated area-based learning alliance leader. The learning alliance leader provides support to graduate teachers and their mentors, including:

  • meeting regularly with mentor teachers to provide coaching support for effective graduate teacher induction
  • delivering professional learning
  • facilitating learning alliance meetings each term, to build graduates’ professional networks and connect graduate teachers.

Professional learning

Graduate and mentor teachers are supported through a comprehensive professional learning program.


Graduate teachers will participate in 1 day of professional learning per term delivered by learning alliance leaders. This suite of professional learning will support graduate teachers to build their practice, strengthen their professional identity, develop strategies to improve their wellbeing and orientate themselves as early-career teachers. Mentor teachers attend the afternoon sessions in Term 1 (focusing on effective mentoring relationships) and Term 4 (to celebrate graduate and mentor achievements).

Online materials

Online content is released throughout the year for both graduate teachers and mentors. This provides opportunities to dive into topics of particular interest on an as-needs basis.

Targeted support for teachers at rural and regional schools

Participating teachers will be provided with targeted professional learning content that recognises the unique knowledge and skills required for teaching in rural and regional school communities.

Mentor teacher selection

Mentor selection

Schools must designate a suitable mentor for every graduate teacher. Effective mentor selection is important and will ensure the graduate teacher can fully benefit from the Career Start program. Consider:

  • capability – is this a leadership development opportunity for a middle leader? Consider upskilling middle leaders.
  • compatibility – is the mentor a good match for your graduate teacher? Consider a mentor in the same team as the graduate or who has experience in that part of the school.
  • capacity – does the mentor have other significant roles in your school that may impact on their capacity to support the graduate teacher? Are there others who could fill this role?

Mentorship models

  • One-to-one – this is a model which allocates a single mentor to a single graduate teacher. One-to-one is a model suitable for schools with a large staffing profile that allows for a high degree of flexibility in facilitating backfill.
  • One-to-many – one mentor will support multiple graduate teachers through the program. This approach may be preferable for schools that do not have enough experienced teachers available to resource a one-to-one model.

Support for schools

Support for schools


Funding for schools to support the reduction of face-to-face teaching time for participating graduate teachers and their mentors is supplied via the Student Resource Package. For more information, please consult Student Resource Package – Targeted Initiatives.



Currently there are no resources for this topic, however some may be provided in the near future as they are developed.

Reviewed 09 November 2023