Engineers who lose their jobs as a result of the deepening recession in manufacturing could benefit from a scheme to encourage science graduates to enter the teaching profession.
Successful applicants who opt for classroom training rather than university will be paid a salary of £11,000, while they study for a postgraduate certificate in education.
Under the scheme, all entrants who go on to teach maths or science will receive a £5,000 ‘golden hello’. This will be paid in two parts, half at the start of training, with the balance paid when a teacher starts work.
The initiative, launched by school standards minister Estelle Morris, has earmarked funds worth up to £130m to be pumped into a three-year recruitment drive. The aim is to meet the shortfall in maths and science teachers in secondary schools in England.
The task facing the teaching profession is huge. The number of graduates who started in September to train as maths teachers was 50% down on target; for science the figure is 30%.
The scheme starts next September and will be managed by the Teacher Training Agency (TTA) as an extension of existing recruitment initiatives.
These include a doubling of the numbers doing on-the-job training to 1,000, with a further 600 new places for maths and science trainees.
Regional advisers to promote the scheme, working with local Employment Service offices, have been appointed by the TTA. In the hardest hit areas for teacher shortages, which include London, Bristol and Lancashire, 17 advisers have already been nominated. A second list, which is expected to include the Midlands, will be published shortly.
The announcement of the TTA initiative coincides with forecasts of mounting job losses in manufacturing industry. Casualties already announced include job cuts by semiconductor giant Siemens, while British Aerospace engineers await the outcome of a strategic review to know whether or not their jobs are safe.
Meanwhile, Rover Group parent BMW is said to be looking for around 2,500 job cuts at Longbridge.
The advisers recognise that not everyone from industry is cut out for teaching, but industrial experience is seen as giving a clear advantage in the profession.
A Rover Group spokesman said: ‘We would advise any employee who was considering a career in teaching and hope to point them in the right direction.’
You can call the TTA hotline on 01245-454 454, or visit the Web site at: www.teach.org.uk