A bursary scheme aimed at encouraging people to train as secondary school teachers in certain science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) subjects is to be extended.
Up to 150 bursaries of £20,000 will be available as an incentive for people who change career to teach subjects most in need of teachers.
The Stem subjects eligible for the bursary are physics, chemistry, maths, computer science, technical education and home economics.
Skills Development Scotland (SDS) will award the money to successful trainee teachers who will be studying for a professional diploma in education (PGDE) in the next academic year. Applications for the scheme will open on 5 April.
Education secretary John Swinney said: “The success of the scheme demonstrates that teaching is recognised as an attractive profession and I am pleased that we will once again be providing bursaries of £20,000 to career changers to support teacher training in certain Stem subjects where demand is at its greatest.
“Those that decide to apply for the bursaries will step into a rewarding and exciting new career.
“We need fresh talent that can share their passion and wealth of expertise with young people.”
Mr Swinney added: “Stem is an integral part of our future economic and social development, and education, training and lifelong learning have a critical role to play in enthusing and encouraging everyone to build a strong base of Stem skills and knowledge.”
Paul McGuiness, a Skills Development Scotland performance and operations manager responsible for training, said: “As we adapt to a new economic environment, there’s increased focus on the support available to help people switch careers and adapt their skills and experience.
“The Stem bursary represents a huge encouragement to those considering teaching Stem subjects – helping to attract talented individuals with the knowledge, skills and talents to support the learning of our young people.”
Jo Neilson was a recipient of one of the 150 bursaries awarded for the current academic year. She is currently pursuing a PGDE in home economics at the University of Dundee.
Ms Neilson, who is from Kirkliston in West Lothian and works part-time at a cookery school having formerly worked in hospitality, said: “Having a young family, I couldn’t figure out how I could find the time to do the teacher training.
“The bursary has made it all possible – giving me the financial security and confidence to change careers, allowing me the chance to pursue this long-held dream to become a teacher.
“I always had a passion for home economics, and I knew I had the right set of skills.
“The industry experience – alongside my cook school work and Girlguiding volunteering – has reaffirmed how much I enjoy building positive relationships with young people and bringing lessons to life with my passion for the subject and real-life examples.”