Trainers warn of scarcity of lecturers

19th May 2000 at 01:00
COLLEGES are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit lecturers, with poor salary levels seen as a key factor, according to FENTO, the national training organisation for the sector.

There is a limited choice of applicants, candidates lack relevant teaching experience, and they are less well-qualified than previously. The best teachers in sixth-form colleges are moving to schools where salaries are higher.

FENTO conducted a survey based on comments made by 20 principals in focus groups, plus telephone canvassing in Northern Ireland.

Colleges are finding it especially hard to recruit IT staff and accountants. The main reason is competition in the labour market. Also there was a "strong suggestion" that most expert staff in many technical fields were better paid outside FE.

In information communication technologies there was "grave cause for concern."

There were also problems in recruiting managers, with applicants lacking in practical experience. Lecturers did not find management posts attractive. "It is widely accepted that many curriculm managers do not want promotion," says the report.

Lecturers would need to be "unlocked from their old-fashioned ways" by themselves learning through ICT. "By the year 2015 we could be seeing learners attending college only once-a- month, for face to face tutorials. This could be linked to a change from contact hour to learner caseload contracts for lecturers and other staff."

The report is the first phase of FENTO's "Skills Foresight" project. In the second stage, beginning later this term, colleges will be asked for detailed statistics, to determine the extent to which recruitment problems are symptomatic of serious skill shortages.

"We want to get colleges fully on board so that we have firm statistical evidence to show to the Government and other stakeholders in the sector," said Pauline Lovell, FENTO's director of business development.

"One of the things the sector has lacked is a coherent approach which can prevent shortages of staff in certain areas. We need to look at career progression and, above all, raise professionalism."


Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a TES/ TESS subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
 
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today