Unemployed oil workers to be retrained as teachers
Labour MSP welcomes scheme but says the plan for 20 new teachers is a 'drop in the ocean'.
A Scottish Government scheme promising teaching jobs for 20 unemployed oil workers is accepting applications.
The Transition Training Fund (TTF) aims to help North Sea workers back into employment.
It guarantees jobs for up to 20 people who retrain as teachers in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, where there are more than 150 vacant teaching posts.
Experts believe 120,000 people will have been made redundant as a result of the downturn by the end of 2016, with 40,000 to go this year alone.
On Monday, education secretary John Swinney said: "We know that in some parts of the country, particularly the north east, schools are facing challenges recruiting teachers in certain subjects.
"That is exactly why we have made money available from the TTF to fund an innovative teacher training proposal. It will result in guaranteed employment for four years for up 20 people in the two local authorities.
"We have been working closely with the University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council to ensure those interested can start as quickly as possible."
The scheme will focus on retraining oil workers in subjects like science, technology, engineering and maths, and they will be able to start work while training.
North east Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald welcomed the project but described it as a "drop in the ocean".
He said: "Any commitment to support the recruitment and training of teachers in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire is welcome, given the desperate staff shortages in our schools.
"However, there are dozens of teacher vacancies in the north east and thousands of people who have lost their jobs in the oil and gas industry so help with retraining for 'up to 20 people' is only a drop in the ocean compared with what we need.
"The Scottish Government's TTF scheme was recently revealed to have helped just 91 people since it was announced with much fanfare at the start of the year. What we need is a step change in the number of people assisted, not just another small-scale intervention.
"I have today tabled a series of parliamentary questions to try and establish the details of this new scheme, and to ensure that as many people as possible are helped back into work."