All trained up but still unemployed

26th November 2004 at 00:00
Kelly Strange has had first-hand experience of the mismatch between the number of teachers being trained in Wales and the jobs available.

Since completing her postgraduate certificate in education in secondary art in Plymouth, the 25-year-old has been scouring every newspaper and website she can think of for a job within commuting distance of her home in Cardiff - without success.

As TES Cymru went to press she was going for an interview - in Weston-super-Mare. Given the scarcity of permanent work she felt she had to apply, even though success would involve her moving house and living apart from her partner for at least a year.

"It's been an absolute nightmare," said the University of Wales Institute of Cardiff graduate. "I knew with my subject there wouldn't be as many jobs as with core subjects, but I didn't anticipate there would be as little work as there is.

"There was the possibility of a job at one of my placement schools in Plymouth, but I really wanted to come back to Cardiff where I have settled with my partner. Had I known how hard it would be to find a job in Wales, I probably would have taken it."

With no immediate prospect of a permanent post, Ms Strange has been working as a supply teacher. But even agency work has proved thin on the ground.

The most work she has had so far has been three days in one week.

As well as the daily anxiety of paying the bills, Ms Strange has the added pressure of knowing that the "odd bits" of work she is doing at the moment will not count towards her induction year.

The current rule is that only whole terms of supply work count towards induction.

The stipulation that teachers must start their induction after no more than four terms of occasional supply teaching has also worried her. As our page 1 story explains, this rule has now been relaxed but Ms Strange is in no mood to celebrate.

"I don't understand why the Westminster Government introduced this limit.

At least if I could continue working as a supply, I'd be teaching. I'm worried about losing confidence and forgetting what I learnt in college," she says.

As to her future, she says: "I don't want to leave the profession. But in a year's time, if I still haven't got a job, I might have to think again."

Are you one of the many unemployed new teachers? Contact Karen Thornton at

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