A Scottish Government scheme set up to help oil workers who lost their jobs in the downturn retrain as teachers has recruited just nine people since it launched.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney announced that oil and gas workers made redundant could take up teacher training with a guaranteed job at the end, facilitated through the Teacher Training Fund in June 2016.
The Government claimed the £12million fund would address chronic staff shortages at north-east schools, while also helping those hit by the crisis in the energy sector.
At the time, 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.
“It will result in guaranteed employment for four years for up 20 people in the two local authorities.”
However the Scottish Conservatives lashed out at the scheme, calling it a “publicity stunt” after it emerged redundant oil and gas workers were struggling to access the information and funding required to help them retrain.
In the following months the Liberal Democrats also called for an urgent review of the scheme.
It now emerged that two oil workers from the city have been recruited to the scheme along with seven from Aberdeenshire.
Ross Thomson, Scottish Conservative MP for Aberdeen South, said: “This plan was launched with great fanfare in 2016, but it has completely failed to deliver what was promised.
“The reality is that it is the Conservative government in Westminster that has supported the oil and gas sector throughout the downturn – and will continue to do so.”
The Scottish Government also recently announced STEM bursaries of £20,000 for career changers to train to become teachers, starting in August 2018, and it has already proven to be more popular than the 2016 oil and gas worker drive.
To date, 107 applications to the scheme have been approved – with five of the applicants Aberdeen residents.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Our Transition Training Fund offered skilled north-east oil and gas workers the opportunity to retrain as teachers with a guaranteed job in a local school.
“With an improving outlook for the oil and gas sector, the scheme has trained nine career changers, with two now working as STEM teachers in Aberdeen and seven in Aberdeenshire.
“Although teacher recruitment is a matter for local authorities, some areas have faced challenges filling vacancies.”