Aberdeen City Council staff have been offered the chance to be retrained as primary school teachers in an attempt to achieve a “100% staffing complement”
As part of the scheme, council workers are being offered a financial carrot in an attempt to stem a “severe shortage” of primary teachers.
The local authority has agreed to cover the tuition costs, at up to £1,800 per person, for those wishing to train as teachers.
In addition, the council has also guaranteed a job for trainees on completion of their training and a year-long probationary period.
The opportunity is open to all council employees who live within the city or Aberdeenshire and have a higher English degree at grade C or above, a standard grade 2 or above in maths and an experience of working with young people.
The initiative, named DLITE Initial Teacher Education, is being run by Aberdeen University.
The tuition will be spread over an 18 month period and involve distance learning, network days and blocks of school placement.
The city council will support the programme by continuing to employ anyone going through the course and continuing to pay them their previous job’s salary while on primary school placements.
In order to prevent those trained from taking their skills elsewhere, those undertaking the scheme must be employed in teaching for Aberdeen City Council for the first three years after their probation or they will have to pay back the cost of their training.
Education and children’s services committee convener Angela Taylor said: “I think it’s a brilliant initiative, and I’m excited to see where it goes.
“Aberdeen is suffering a severe shortage of primary school teachers.
“The number of vacancies for primary teacher positions we have is usually around 30 people, but we want to achieve a 100% staffing complement, which is something I hope this initiative will be able to achieve.
“We have already had 33 people apply to the scheme so far. When they complete the course, they will be put on a probation for a year, and if they’re successful they will be given one of the guaranteed jobs.”
After completing their distance learning, council workers who decide to change career paths to teaching will be awarded a Professional Graduate Diploma in Education and receive a salary starting at £22,827 and going up to £34,887.