Graduates told to seek jobs overseas

Primary teaching students are being encouraged to leave New Zealand for overseas when they graduate because nationally only one in five will land jobs at home.

Canterbury Primary Principals' Association president John Bangma said the odds for Christchurch graduates were even worse than that.

He advised Christchurch graduates to look for jobs elsewhere in New Zealand.

Schools in Christchurch facing falling rolls would be making more teachers redundant at the end of this year and it was likely any new jobs being advertised would be filled with experienced teachers rather than graduates, he said.

Victoria University teaching diploma students were told that although there would be plenty of jobs towards the end of the decade, the current situation was gloomy.

The bombshell was dropped by an Education Ministry-contracted speaker, who advised students at a seminar last week to go overseas for work rather than give up the chance of getting registered as there would only be jobs for 20 per cent of them.

The students heard that only 40 per cent of new teachers would get full-time permanent roles within three years of graduating.

Also the majority of new graduates would work only in temporary or relieving roles in the first few years of teaching.

It was one of many nationwide seminars run by the ministry to give advice to students and graduates about New Zealand's teaching job market.

The latest job prospect statistics shocked the Victoria University teaching students, who have taken to a Facebook group page to vent their concerns.

One student, who did not want to be named fearing it would taint her already slim career prospects, said she was now considering moving to Melbourne.

"The Ministry of Education representative said they'd rather we head offshore for a job than give up looking all together.

"We all knew it was going to be hard to get a job, but we didn't know how s... the statistics are."

She wondered why they were not told about the situation before they paid the $7000 course fees, and questioned the university's ethics in letting so many students into the course when more than half would not get teaching jobs in New Zealand.

A new teacher is usually granted a provisional registration, but is expected to meet certain criteria and gain full registration within three years. That can be extended to six years with a valid reason.

Teaching work overseas can count towards full registration in New Zealand, which requires at least two years of work under the supervision of a mentor teacher.

Victoria University Education Pro Vice-Chancellor Dugald Scott said the department did look "broadly" at how many teachers were needed when selecting students, but it was impossible to be precise.

New Zealand Educational Institute chief executive Ian Leckie said the ministry should be protecting new teachers it had helped train, not packing them off overseas.

Job prospects were not as grim as portrayed, especially if they were prepared to move to smaller towns, Leckie said.

It had always been difficult for new teachers to find their first job and there was a real argument for more support for new graduates.

Teaching oversees would gain experience, but within a different educational system, he said.

Education Ministry workforce group manager Rebecca Elvy said the ministry had made it clear to the teaching profession and training organisations that vacancies for full-time permanent teachers would remain low over the next few years.

The Press