The Teacher Training Agency is looking to the private sector to broaden the appeal of teaching at a time when recruitment problems threaten renewed staff shortages.
The TTA will encourage bids for the position of Chief Contractor, whose role will be to promote the profession - a job previously undertaken by the now disbanded Teaching as a Career unit. An announcement is expected to be made shortly.
Both chief executive Anthea Millett and chairman Geoffrey Parker have recently spoken of the need to draw new people into the profession, including those who may not previously have considered teaching.
Speaking last week, Mr Parker said that Government statistics now indicate that there is likely to be a shortage of secondary school staff in most subject areas unless recruitment picks up. Some university and college training departments are reporting problems attracting and placing sufficient students.
"We must do very much better in the recruitment of teachers, and recruit them from a variety of sources," said Mr Parker speaking at a London conference of headteachers. He proposed an expansion of the licensed teacher scheme as a way of attracting mature entrants. The TTA is also keen to tap the pool of trained but inactive teachers - said to be as large as the current workforce.
The TTA would not speculate on the individuals or organisations likely to apply for Chief Contractor. But it said that the work is likely to then be sub-contracted on a regional basis. Bids from local authority agencies are a strong possibility.
Ms Millett said that, in the event of any staff shortages, the TTA would undertake a review of recruitment, asking who should be encouraged to join the profession.