EDUCATION bosses at a Scottish council have taken their teacher recruitment campaign overseas in a bid to address staffing shortages in their primary and secondary schools, it was revealed today.
A recruitment team from Aberdeenshire has travelled to Canada to interview probationer teachers across the Atlantic. And they have also been in Ireland as part of the recruitment initiative.
As part of a package, successful applicants will receive a full induction and conversion to Scottish education standards, a temporary work visa, accommodation and travel costs.
Earlier this month neighbouring Aberdeen City Council announced plans to spend up to £260,000 on extra incentive payments to recruit teachers for “hard to fill posts” in the city’s schools.
The individual payments of £5000 are to be paid to fill up to 52 posts at primaries and secondaries across the city to help candidates from other parts of the UK to move to the booming oil capital of Europe.
A spokesman for Aberdeenshire Council explained: “Over a period of three days in July over 30 Irish and Canadian probationer teachers were interviewed in their own countries for posts in Aberdeenshire.
“Ireland and Canada both have high levels of surplus probationer and first year teachers.
“The Aberdeenshire campaign is targeting these areas as a way of attracting high quality teachers who need an opportunity to secure their first teaching post. At a cost of between £4,000 to £5,000 per teacher recruited, it is anticipated this will provide a short-term solution to Aberdeenshire’s recruitment difficulties.”
Wilfred Weir, the council’s head of Education, Policy and Resources, explained: “Countries like Canada and Ireland have generated a surplus of teachers. They are well qualified and keen to secure their first job.
“This presents us with an opportunity to attract quality probationer teachers to a teaching role in one of our schools, helping us to fill much-needed vacancies and ensure that our schools have the appropriate levels of teachers to continue to meet our high standards.
Councillor Isobel Davidson, chair of the council’s Education Learning and Leisure Committee,said: “We need to look at innovative ways to fill teaching vacancies in Aberdeenshire. At the moment, we have around 40 teaching vacancies and despite our very best efforts, we are continuing to struggle to fill these posts.
“We are confident that this innovative approach will stimulate significant interest and help relieve the current pressures on our teaching staff.”
Successful candidates are to be allocated a teaching role in either a primary school or an academy across Aberdeenshire. After the first year, the overseas teachers will have the opportunity to seek full time employment in Aberdeenshire, subject to visa requirements.