Leadership Development Program

Damien brings diverse background to the classroom

Thursday, February 22nd, 2024

Damien Viney is bringing unique expertise from his previous careers as a cidermaker and a Health Inspector, and as a member of the local council, to the classroom in Tasmania.

The Devenport resident is teaching science and maths at Reece High School as part of the 2024 Cohort of our Leadership Development Program.

“I’ve noticed that having a diverse background is really beneficial when I’m talking to the kids,” Viney said.

“Because you always hear, ‘Why are we learning this?’ or ‘I can’t see the relevant to this’ and I can draw on my own experience and assure them: just because something doesn’t make sense now doesn’t mean it won’t come in handy later on.”

Making the switch to teaching

With a young family, Viney said he was motivated to transition to a career in teaching because he wanted a career that would allow him to spend time more time at home and that was better aligned with his personality.

“After I graduated from science, I went on a bit of a jaunt travelling and my first stop was at a kid’s summer camp in the states working with high school age kids,” Viney explained.

“I knew there that can make a connection with them, I could relate to them well, I enjoy spending time with them, getting to know them and having fun with them. I’ve had a couple of different careers since then, but I always thought that teaching is a better fit for my personality.”

‘Safety net’ of support

Viney feels fortunate to be teaching at the local high school in his community and for the assistance he has received through the program.

He credits the wraparound support from the teachers at Reese High School and his TFA Mentor and ACU Mentor as his safety net.

“I just feel so comfortably happy about my decision to join the program and be a teacher almost to the point of feeling like I’m blessed,” Viney exclaimed.

“I just feel so happy that I am doing something that I’m so passionate about.”

About our program

Passionate career changers – like Damien – bring valuable experience, specialist knowledge and unique perspectives to classrooms in disadvantaged communities across Australia through our Leadership Development Program.

Our Associates work in schools teaching subjects directly related to their previous studies while they undertake a Master of Teaching (Secondary) (Leading Learning) with our academic partner Australian Catholic University (ACU).

During the two-year program, Associates receive one-on-one coaching and mentoring and earn a full salary – approximately $62,000-$65,000 base salary, depending on the placement location.

  • Professionals – change careers without giving up your income by joining our Leadership Development Program.
  • The employment-based pathway means you’ll earn a full salary while undertaking your Master of Teaching over the two years.
  • Make a difference for students in the classroom while kickstarting a meaningful new career.
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