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Jobs in education booming

Posted October 13, 2011, by Helen Isbister

Whether you are interested in teaching kindergarten kids their ABCs or passing on your knowledge of quantitative physics to the next generation of Einsteins, there are plenty of exciting opportunities to snap up in the education sector.

Teaching gigs have traditionally been big winners in economic downturns. Education services are booming as people retrain and upskill, often using funds they have received as redundancy payouts.

An ageing workforce is fuelling the skills shortage in this sector. The NSW government predicts over 30 per cent of the state’s teachers will retire before 2011, while more than 50 per cent of principals are aged over 50 and on the brink of retirement.

Two thirds of Australia’s high schools are struggling to recruit essential staff, with maths, science and information technology facing the greatest shortages.

The Federal Government’s plan to overhaul universities is threatened by a serious shortage of academics. The target of teaching an extra 330 000 students by 2020 is predicted to require thousands more academics and a multi-billion dollar building program.

Fifteen Australian universities recorded an average increase of 6.5 per cent in enrolments over the last year across all disciplines and teachers are already needed to bridge that gap.

And it’s not just local students who are driving demand. The number of international students enrolled at Aussie universities jumped 21 per cent to 300 000 this year – giving a significant boost to the industry.

The international effect also works both ways. There are lots of exciting opportunities for teachers who want to take their expertise overseas – whether it be at a boarding school in London or teaching English in China.

The beauty of teaching is that you might already have the foundations for a fabulous career in education even if you’ve never stood at the front of a classroom.

If your sector is feeling the squeeze, you could get a Diploma in Education under your belt and, for example, transform a career in law to a career teaching legal studies. Or, consider a Certificate IV Training and Assessment that can get you into TAFE teaching and corporate training jobs.

Helen Isbister

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