Saturday, 6 February 2010

Teaching Becoming the "Profession of Choice."

By Sunil Patel

A surge in applications from career-changers in the last year suggests that teaching has become the ‘profession of choice’.

Record numbers of bankers, architects and managers, have turned their backs on their jobs and opted for teacher training courses.

There has been a 35 percent increase in applications made to the Training Development Agency (TDA), from 10,100 in 2008/09 to 13,500 in 2009/2010.

Factors such as the recession, redundancies and a shift in people’s attitudes have made teaching a more attractive career option.

In the last year, up to 70 per cent of enquiries have come from career changers, according to Katie Sargent, spokeswoman for the TDA.

She said, “The recession has given people a chance to take stock or given them an opportunity to do a job that they’ve always wanted to do.

“People in the past may have felt that teaching was not for them because it did not reflect their salary ambitions.

“But they now feel the profession offers good career prospects, with some head teachers earning up to £100,000.”

With many career-changers interested in the profession often because they want to give something back to society or want to have more fulfilment from their work, according to a spokeswoman Catherine Roan for Careershifters.org.

She said: "New entrants to the profession will bring with them a wealth of experience from outside of the education system which many schools recognise as incredibly valuable.

"There has always been a lot of interest from career-changers in becoming teachers and I do not think that this is likely to change. It will always be an attractive career to many people."

Teaching recruitment targets are set according to the predicted need for new teachers by the Department for Children Schools and Families.

In an average year the TDA expects to recruit around 40,000 new teachers and after the recruitment high of 2009/10, it looks all set not only hit the target but exceed it.

There was a significant rise in other applications from other areas, such as 19 percent jump in year on year applications made by students under 25 years old.

There has also been a 27 percent hike in applications from graduates straight out of university who are looking for their first career.

Recruitment staff for the Training Development Agency says the decision-making process for teaching takes about a year.

The figures collected so for 2009/10 are only preliminary and they expect to see even greater numbers of people signing on to Graduate Teacher Training Registry.

For the first time ever, the TDA has managed to beat its recruitment targets in signing-up trainee’s onto core secondary school subjects Maths and Science.

Maths trainee recruits rose by eight percent for the year on year figures and there was nine percent growth increase in the numbers studying Science.

Teaching recruiters had historically found it difficult to fill these subjects but for the 2009/10 they had surpassed all their targets.

Graham Holley, Chief Executive of the TDA said, “In meeting all of our Initial Teacher Training (ITT) targets in every subject area and phase for the first time ever we have reached a significant milestone in teacher recruitment.

He added, “This underlines the vital role we play in supporting the nation’s educational workforce.

"Considering that we have not met the challenging Maths target alone before, this is a monumental achievement."

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