Jobless oil workers urged to retrain as teachers in new initiative

Redundant North Sea workers who retrain as teachers will be guaranteed employment for four years under a Scottish Government scheme.

Out-of-work oil workers being urged to retrain as teachers.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney announced up to 20 spaces will be available for former oil and gas workers who want to swap the industry for the classroom.

Courses start in September, with successful applicants employed in Aberdeen or the surrounding area when they undertake initial teacher education.

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The scheme is part of the Transition Training Fund, set up by ministers to help oil and gas workers at risk of losing their job, allowing them to move into alternative employment in other areas by making grants for retraining.

The fund will help people retrain as secondary-school teachers, particularly in the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.

Addressing a conference in Aberdeen, Mr Swinney said: “The North-east has a highly-skilled oil and gas workforce, and we want to utilise these skills and offer those affected by job losses with a positive career path.

“By becoming a teacher, they can use their knowledge and expertise to inspire the next generation of young people in STEM subjects.”

The new Education Secretary added: “We know that in some parts of the country, particularly the North-east, schools are facing challenges recruiting teachers in certain subjects.

“Our proposal will result in guaranteed employment for four years for up 20 people. “We have been working closely with the University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council to ensure those interested can start as quickly as possible.

“People applying now will be able to start their training in the autumn.”

Leading industry body Oil & Gas UK said last week up to 120,000 jobs linked to the UK sector could be lost by the end of the year due to the slumped price of Brent Crude.

And last week Aberdeen City Council warned hundreds of youngsters could be left with no schools to go to after the summer if the area’s teaching crisis was not solved.