Teach First is to target disillusioned professionals in other careers as part of a new teacher recruitment push, Tes can reveal.
The trainer is also launching a pilot scheme for returner teachers, to tap into a pool of 60,000 ex-teachers which Teach First believes can be lured back into the profession.
Tomorrow, Teach First is publishing its new strategy for 2018-23, which has been shared with Tes in advance.
While Teach First will continue its traditional role of parachuting bright graduates into challenging schools, the strategy includes a number of pilots aimed at diversifying its recruitment intake into other areas.
One of the pilots – "Time to Teach" – will focus on individuals over the age of 25 who are currently working in other professions but interested in changing their career.
Speaking to Tes, Teach First chief executive Russell Hobby said: “One of the things we’ve noted over the last couple of years is an increasing percentage of our cohort are people switching from other careers.”
Mr Hobby said that while Now Teach was targeting those in the later stages of their career, there remained “a big chunk” of mid-career professionals who were interested in teaching.
This demographic had already begun applying to Teach First because they viewed it as a “good salaried route into teaching” which was “well known within the business community”.
But Mr Hobby said Teach First wanted “to do more” to serve this group because they had “slightly different needs to a recent graduate”.
The pilot will initially target 30 career switchers and will differ in several key respects to the main Teach First programme.
They will not have to relocate long distances away – which is sometimes required in the core programme – and they will begin working and earning immediately rather than having to complete the standard induction period.
Mr Hobby said these changes would suit individuals who might have already have families and mortgages.
While Mr Hobby acknowledged that some people might be put off if they had to take a pay drop, he said the new scheme would appeal to individuals who were disillusioned with their current jobs.
At a recent Teach First interview, he revealed one career switcher had said: “After three years, I was just thinking I cannot go into my office again, I don’t want to be doing these sorts of things.”
In addition to recruiting career switchers, another pilot will aim to lure ex-teachers back to the profession.
According to Teach First's research, of 300,000 qualified teachers of working age who are not teaching, 20 per cent could be willing to return.