Bust causes boom in suit recruits

23rd January 2009 at 00:00

Economics is making a comeback in schools and former financial workers are flocking to teach it.

Applications for the business and economics secondary PGCE course run by the Institute of Education at London University have almost doubled, many from people who previously held high-profile jobs in the City or law.

Some saw the financial crisis coming and chose to leave, while others decided to go into teaching after they had lost their jobs, said Jacek Brant, the course leader.

"There are lots of high-quality applicants, and when they start the course they have a great level of maturity and are very hard-working," Dr Brant said.

"Of course, teaching is a culture shock for them at first, and I think they find the decision-making process in schools very slow."

He said the demand for business and economics teachers was now so great that heads often asked him to recommend students.

Rohan Ranasinghe, a former retail banker for Lloyds TSB, left the industry after anticipating it would go into decline. The 25-year-old from Surrey had become unhappy about the ethics of his job, where he had to meet targets for giving out loans - sometimes to unsuitable people.

He started the PGCE course in September and is now completing his teaching practice at Coombe Girls' School in New Malden, Surrey, and jobhunting.

Mr Ranasinghe, who graduated from the University of East Anglia in 2004, said the switch to teaching was the best career move he had ever made. "My previous job was based on how many loans I could issue, and it was obvious to see the whole system would keel over at some point," he said.

"Going into teaching has been fantastic. I'm having a lot of fun on my teaching practice and I've found my experiences have really helped in the classroom. I bought an investment property a few years ago, so I use this as an example for the pupils.

"What I would say to anyone else wanting to get into teaching because of the financial crisis is that it's a lot more competitive to get on to a PGCE course than you might think. This has also been the hardest course I've ever done."

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