This year’s applications to Scotland’s £3 million STEM Bursary Scheme, aimed at financially supporting Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) professionals to retrain as teachers, opened this week.
This year, the scheme has been expanded to encourage more people to make a career change, with the SNP Government increasing its budget by 50%, from £2 million to £3 million. That will allow 150 career changers - up from last year’s 100 - to apply for the £20,000 bursary to support them while training, to fill the high-demand teaching roles in STEM subjects.
Last year, Home Economics was included for the first time. STEM subjects in most demand are Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Technical Education and Computing Science.
This year’s bursary scheme opened for applications on Monday 16 March for postgraduate teacher training courses beginning in August 2020.
Education Secretary John Swinney MSP said:
“Developing STEM skills is vital for our future economy and having great STEM teachers who are enthusiastic about their subjects will inspire the next generation.
“The success of the 2019-20 scheme demonstrates that teaching is recognised as an attractive profession and we want to continue making it more accessible to those considering a career change to become teachers.
“These bursaries continue to provide financial help, making it easier for enthusiastic career changers to take that step into a rewarding and exciting new career, sharing their passion and expertise with young people.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“This 50% increase in the programme, with corresponding funding, shows an encouraging level of ambition when it comes to taking this programme forward.
“The STEM Bursary targets for the past two years, both set at 100, were exceeded: 107 in 2018/19, and 111 in 2019/20, so the SNP Government has recognised that the programme is a success and can aim higher.
“This funding will enable and encourage even more STEM professionals to make the switch and I am sure many more excellent teachers, who in turn will be able to not only teach, but provide an insight into how exciting it can be to pursue a career in a STEM subject.”
Nadeem Kardar from Edinburgh left a successful career in the higher education sector to study for a Professional Graduate Diploma in Education in secondary education at Edinburgh Napier University to become a chemistry and science teacher. He said:
“It’s hard to go 10 months without any source of income when you’re trying to support yourself, never mind a family too. That’s why the STEM bursaries are so helpful.”
To find out if you are eligible and to apply, visit stembursaryscotland.co.uk .