NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Teacher post option for redundant oil and gas workers

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Redundant oil and gas workers workers who retrain as teachers will be guaranteed a job for four years, the Scottish government has said.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said applications were now open for funded teacher education training places.

It has been warned some schools in Aberdeen may close because of a "crisis" in recruiting teachers.

The Transition Training Fund (TTF) was set up to help oil and gas workers made redundant, or at risk of redundancy.

Jobs lost as a result of the downturn in the UK oil and gas sector could top 120,000 by the end of this year, according to a report on Friday.

The scheme will allow "suitably qualified" oil and gas workers to be employed by Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire councils while they do their initial training. The TTF courses start in September

'Facing challenges'

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 (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects.

"We know that in some parts of the country, particularly the north east, schools are facing challenges recruiting teachers in certain subjects.

"That is exactly why we have made money available from the TTF to fund an innovative teacher training proposal.

"It will result in guaranteed employment for four years for up 20 people in the two local authorities."

Analysis by Jamie McIvor, education correspondent

Aberdeen is not the only part of Scotland to warn of difficulties recruiting teachers.

Other parts of the north east, Highlands and Islands and rural areas, including Dumfries and Galloway, have found difficulty filling posts.

The problems and issues are not simple and straightforward.

Nationally, there is an agreed number of places available in teacher training. The funding deal between councils and the Scottish government commits councils to maintaining teacher numbers.

In general, the problem is not so much the number of people who are qualified to teach across Scotland as the number of people who may want to work in some parts of the country.

Read more on this here.

Mr Swinney added: "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.

"I am delighted that people applying now will be able to start their training in the autumn."

Industry body Oil and Gas UK has estimated 84,000 jobs linked to the industry went in 2015, with 40,000 losses expected this year.

Aberdeen City Council has said there are 134 empty teaching posts in the city.

The council said consideration would have to be given to shutting the worst-affected schools after the summer unless the situation improves.

Image caption The UK oil and gas sector has been hit hard by the sustained fall in the oil price

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