No jobs for 700 new teachers
Evan Roberts. Picture: Ian Munro/The West Australian

More than 700 newly qualified teachers who applied to work in public schools have been left without jobs at the start of the school year.

Education Department figures show that just 278 graduates out of a pool of 992 applicants had jobs by the first day of school on Monday - less than half the 646 graduates appointed at the same time last year.

The department's workforce executive director Cliff Gillam warned that WA faced an oversupply of primary school teachers unless universities enrolled more students in secondary teaching courses.

"We will continue to make this issue very clear to universities," he said. "Because with current trends there is a strong possibility that WA will have too many primary teachers and not enough secondary teachers, especially those who can teach specialist subjects like maths, science and design and technology."

Education Minister Peter Collier said more positions would come up during the year through resignations and retirements.

He said graduates stood a better chance of getting work if they applied to many schools, including those in the country.

Two new graduates from Edith Cowan University said they found the lack of jobs "disheartening".

Evan Roberts, 26, who qualified to teach secondary science after he finished his first degree in environmental biology, said though he loved teaching he might be forced to look for work in another field.

He had hoped to get a job in the city because he achieved good grades and was also qualified to teach maths and society and environment.

"We were continually told we'd be fine, that we'd definitely get positions," he said.

"It's actually quite frustrating because it seems like everywhere wants someone with experience, but there is nowhere to get that."

Drama teacher Kelly Mandin, 24, said she had been prepared to move to the country with her husband and toddler in tow.

"I'm a specialist area teacher so knew it would be more of a struggle for me," she said. "But it is disheartening knowing that maybe four people from my graduating class have permanent positions."

ECU head of education Chris Brook said new graduates were likely to get jobs as the year went on.

He believed the employment market had changed with the rise of independent public schools because they gave graduates more chances to pick up a teaching position in the city.

The West Australian

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