Secondary Sciences, Technologies and Mathematics (SSTM) Initiative

For Out-of-Field Teachers in Digital Technologies or Design and Technologies. Expressions of Interest for this initiative are now closed.

Undertake a fully funded postgraduate qualification in Secondary Digital Technologies or Secondary Design and Technologies with Deakin University at no cost to you or your school.

Limited places available. Expressions of interest will remain open until places are filled.


As part of the 2022-23 Victorian State Budget, the Victorian Government committed $10.1 million to the Secondary Science, Technologies and Mathematics (SSTM) initiative to increase the numbers of qualified Years 7–10 teachers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), and to assist schools with workforce challenges associated with out-of-field teaching.

The SSTM initiative expands on the successful partnership with Deakin University to deliver graduate certificates in mathematics and science through the Secondary Mathematics and Science initiative (SMSI). SMSI courses have had proven success in supporting high-quality teaching in STEM, with 100 per cent of surveyed participants reporting a deeper pedagogical knowledge of their discipline and 96 per cent reporting improved confidence and capability in their teaching.  Expanding the initiative to include the design and delivery of new graduate certificates in digital technologies and design and technologies will further enhance teaching and learning across all STEM subjects.

The new graduate certificates will be delivered across 2024 and 2025 and are designed for teachers who have been teaching digital technologies or design and technologies out-of-field for less than 5 years and will be teaching technologies out-of-field in 2024–2025. Participants will engage with contemporary, research-informed courses aligned to the Victorian Curriculum Levels 7–10. Credit points from the graduate certificate can be put towards a Master of Education.

Places in both the digital technologies and design and technologies graduate certificates are limited to 50 Victorian government school teachers, with half of these places prioritised for participants from regional and rural schools.


To be eligible for either of the technologies graduate certificates, teachers must:

  • be employed as a teacher in a Victorian Government school when applying and during the 2 years of the course
  • have been teaching digital technologies or design and technologies out-of-field for up to 5 years
  • be allotted at least one class in the subject area of the graduate certificate chosen in both the 2024 and 2025 school years
  • have discussed the opportunity with their school principal and have their principal’s endorsement to participate
  • have reached a shared understanding with their principal of the support the school will provide them to undertake the course
  • be committed to completing the course (noting there is no capacity to defer and places are limited).

The eligibility criteria reflect the course requirements and how the course content has been targeted, with some assessments requiring participants to apply course learning in a classroom context. Research also highlights that most of the challenges associated with out-of-field teaching occur in the first 5 years of teaching out-of-field, after which they tend to be better managed by the teacher.


  1. Although priority will be given to teachers who meet the eligibility criteria above, teachers who have taught either digital technologies or design and technologies out-of-field for more than 5 years and wish to express interest in a graduate certificate should contact the STEM Education Unit (see Contact, below) to discuss their circumstances.
  2. Teachers who are teaching digital technology as part of an integrated subject (e.g., STEM), or consistently integrating concepts and skills from the Victorian Curriculum: Digital Technologies into their teaching and believe completion of the graduate certificate will support student outcomes should also contact the STEM Education Unit (See Contact below) to discuss expressing interest.
  3. Current design and technologies teachers who specialise in one technologies context (e.g., food specialisations) should consider the design and technologies graduate certificate to broaden their understanding of designed solutions as well as skillsets in other technologies contexts.
  4. If expressions of interest for a graduate certificate exceed the available 50 places, teachers from regional and rural schools will be prioritised.

Course structure and delivery dates

Each graduate certificate consists of 4 units (one per semester) delivered across the 2024 and 2025 school years through a mix of face-to-face and online delivery. Each unit has a focus on a different content area, with participants becoming skilled in curriculum planning, pedagogy, and assessment, enabling them to engage and enrich students of all abilities across Years 7-10.

The graduate certificates are designed as blended adult learning experiences with a mixture of face-to-face course days, online workshops and assessments. For each unit, participants are expected to:

  • participate and engage in two-day face-to-face intensives every term (see Course summary, dates and venues, below, for further information)
  • participate in 3 after-school online workshops
  • prepare and review set work in preparation for intensives and workshops 
  • trial course learnings in a classroom context 
  • satisfactorily complete assessment tasks (5,000 words per unit) 
  • engage in a community of adult learners.


  1. The venues for the delivery of face-to-face intensives will vary, providing participants with access to cutting-edge technologies and equipment connected to the learning outcomes of a unit. Refer to Course summary, dates and venues, below, for more information.
  2. Postgraduate university students typically dedicate 150 hours per unit (including pre-course work, intensive sessions, classroom-based activities, online workshops and assessments); however, this will differ depending on individual circumstances and prior knowledge and experience.

Course summary, dates and venues

Graduate Certificate of Secondary Digital Technologies

Course summary, dates and venues (DOCX, 139KB)

Deakin University course page

Meet the Lecturers video

Graduate Certificate of Secondary Design and Technologies

Course summary, dates and venues (DOCX, 104KB) 

Deakin University course page

Meet the Lecturers video

Support and expectations

Undertaking the Graduate Certificate of Secondary Digital Technologies or the Graduate Certificate of Secondary Design and Technologies is a two-year commitment for both participants and schools.

Principals and teachers should carefully read through this page and attend one of the information sessions listed below to ensure they understand the expectations and support for this course before teachers submit an Expression of Interest (EOI). Discussions between teachers and principals should be undertaken prior to completing an EOI to ensure there is a clear understanding of the support the school will provide to their participants.

Financial support for schools

Schools will receive approximately $13,000 per participant per year (about $26,000 over the two-year course) as a credit line through their Student Resource Package.

This funding is provided to enable the school to support teacher attendance at face-to-face course days and to provide time outside of course days to allow full engagement with course requirements and assessments, as outlined below.

Expectations of support from schools for participating teachers

The funding provided through the school's Student Resource Package is intended to support the participant over the two-year study period. School support is crucial for the successful transition of a teacher to a confident and capable in-field practitioner.

Schools are expected to provide adequate time in a participant’s allotment to enable them to engage with, and implement, their course learning. Principals and teachers should work together before submitting an EOI to negotiate the support that best suits the needs of both participants and the school community.

Some examples of how schools can support participants could include one or a combination of:

  • The incorporation of study time into a participant's allotment to enable their full engagement with the course content, with a casual relief teacher (CRT) employed during face-to-face intensive learning days.
  • The use of a CRT to release participants for face-to-face intensive learning days and at other times to complete pre-course work and to meet assessment deadlines and other course commitments.
  • The hiring of a permanent staff member at 0.1 FTE for the length of the course to cover participating teachers’ allotted study time and their attendance at face-to-face intensive learning days.
  • The provision of a mentor to build teacher confidence in the classroom, with a portion of the funding being used to provide time release for the participant and their mentor to work together.

Travel reimbursement

Participating teachers whose schools are more than 100 kilometres from face-to-face intensive venues will be reimbursed up to $320 per day for travel, meals, and accommodation costs. This is intended to support teacher participation on face-to-face course days.

Eligibility for travel reimbursement will vary depending on where the intensives are held (refer to the Course summary, dates and venues, above, for more information). The STEM Education Unit will notify schools and participating teachers before course commencement if they are eligible for reimbursement for attendance at one or more venues. Initiative Agreements will be established with eligible schools to allow the submission of travel reimbursement claims on behalf of participants with all reimbursements provided through the Schools Targeted Funding Portal.

Support from Deakin University: CIRCLS

Participants are provided with exclusive access to a tailored support program: Collaborative, Independent, Reflexive and Connected Learning Supports (CIRCLS).

CIRCLS has been a successful component of the previous graduate certificates in mathematics and science, which is being incorporated into the new graduate certificates. CIRCLS is designed to assist participating teachers to be successful in their studies, to build their academic skills, professional agency and research-informed practice, and to extend their professional networks. Participants of CIRCLS are provided with a safety net as they return to study whilst also navigating their changing professional identities to becoming in-field in a new subject area.

Watch this short video to learn more about CIRCLS.

Participating teacher expectations

As funding for the graduate certificates will be paid upfront to Deakin University, participants must make every effort to complete the course once they have commenced. There is no option for participants to defer their studies.

Over the two years, we understand that unforeseen changes in personal circumstances may impact course learning. In such cases, participants are strongly encouraged to work with their school and with Deakin University staff, particularly the CIRCLS support team, to find ways to maintain engagement in the graduate certificates.

Information sessions

Information sessions were held in early August 2023. Please contact the STEM team if you have any questions about the certificates.

Expression of Interest (EOI) process

Schools will be notified of EOI outcomes within 2 weeks of submission to give schools time to adjust their timetabling and resource allocation for 2024.

Teachers wishing to undertake one of the graduate certificates must submit an online EOI form for assessment of eligibility by the STEM Education Unit.

In the online form, teachers must demonstrate they meet the eligibility requirements (see Eligibility, above), provide details of their experience in teaching out-of-field and describe the benefits they believe undertaking the graduate certificate will provide them and their students.

Teachers must also confirm that they have discussed with their principal what support (including provision of time to undertake study) will be provided by their school, should their EOI be successful.

Teachers will be asked to provide their principal’s contact details. After an EOI has been submitted, the department will contact each principal for their written endorsement and to confirm the support the school will provide.

Principal endorsement is required before places in the graduate certificate will be confirmed.

If courses are oversubscribed, priority will be given to teachers from rural and regional schools.

Express your interest now

Click on the link below to express your interest in the:


For more information or queries please email the STEM Education Unit: