Very desirable employees

15th June 2007 at 01:00
Hundreds of geography graduates may be turning away from teaching because the boom economy means more lucrative job prospects elsewhere, geography associations have said.

The latest figures from the Graduate Teacher Training Registry show there have been, so far this year, 21 per cent fewer applications for PGCE courses starting in September. The June figures are a good indication of how many applications will have been received by the start of the course.

Some in the sector have suggested the subject is suffering from an outdated curriculum and poor public perception. Daniel Raven-Ellison, the head of geography at Langtree school in Woodcote, Oxfordshire, and fellow geographer David Rayner launched a campaign last year to raise the profile of the subject. They blamed poor media coverage for giving geography an unsexy "elbow patches" image.

However, David Lambert, the chief executive of the Geographical Association, said: "There are so many job options for geographers, and the boom in environmental jobs has helped. But most actually go into the financial services sector, accountancy and human resources. They are well-known for being highly numerate with good graphical communication skills. They are incredibly employable."

He said the increasing issue of student debt has nudged some graduates towards more lucrative careers than teaching.

Dr Rita Gardener, the director of the Royal Geographical Society said: "Of course it's disappointing to see such a fall in PGCE applications for geography, especially since the subject provides an excellent grounding in pressing issues, including climate change.

"But in a flourishing economy, graduates have very attractive skills combinations."

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