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FAS placement programme good way for young teachers to complete probation, in absence of job – Healy Eames

With growing number of newly qualified Galway teachers joining the dole queue and unable to find employment, Galway West Senator Healy Eames, Ph.D., a former teacher and teacher educator, has highlighted the benefits of the FAS work placement programme as a means which will allow young teachers to get up to nine months work experience in a school and enable them to complete their probation.

‘This probation amounts to their teaching diploma, a really important qualification which equips primary teachers to be fully qualified teachers’.

‘Due to the absence of teaching opportuities, large numbers of young teachers have recounted to me their concerns about not being able to be probated in primary schools. This is quite disabling as it even inhibits their opportunities to emigrate if they chose to do so. On speaking to the Dept of Ed. this morning I was delighted to learn that the FAS work placement programme may be used for probationary purposes. I wish to stress that this programme is not about the displacement of existing posts or is not a means to fill a vacant post. A school must register with FAS for the purpose of the job placement programme. Importantly, though, it is a way forward for a young teacher to gain valuable experience and to be probated.

On an almost dauily basis, I am contacted by young unemployed teachers and / or their parents, who are finding it almost impossible to find a job. This is not from the candidates being under-qualified. It is due to the sheer scarcity of teaching positions and the highly competitive nature of up to eg., 80 candidates applying for any one teaching post, if and when one becomes available. This paints a grim picture and highlights the sheer lack of opportunities for unemployed teachers to gain employment. In spite of this difficulty in securing a job, added to a range of cutbacks across the education sector, many graduates still choose teaching as their preferred career voice. The country needs them, children need them and we have a duty to support them to begin their careers.

The FAS job placement programme may be a helpful step on the young person’s journey to ultimately achieving a full-time teaching post. I am working on a number of other innovative ideas with the Dept of Ed. to bring other solutions forward, said Senator Fidelma Healy Eames.