STEM Bursaries increased

Latest STEM Bursary Scheme opens for applications on Monday 16 March.

Scotland’s STEM Bursary Scheme is being expanded this year to encourage more people to train as secondary school teachers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

That means 150 career changers - up from last year’s 100 target - will be now able to apply for the £20,000 bursary to support them while training, to fill the high-demand teaching roles in STEM subjects. The scheme’s budget is also being increased from £2 million to £3 million.

Last year, Home Economics was included in the subjects available for the first time, while the other STEM subjects in most demand are Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Technical Education and Computing Science.

This year’s bursary scheme will open for applications on Monday 16 March for postgraduate teacher training courses beginning in August 2020.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney 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 of the Scottish workforce.

“The success of the 2019-20 scheme demonstrates that teaching is recognised as an attractive profession, and we want to continue to make 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.

Nadeem Kardar from Edinburgh left a successful career in the higher education sector to study for a Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) in secondary education at Edinburgh Napier University to become a chemistry and science teacher.

Nadeem 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.

“Thanks to the support of the bursary, I can be at home with my family – I am already enjoying the benefits.”

Paul McGuiness, Skills Development Scotland’s National Training Programmes Performance and Operations Manager, said:

“Our learning system is focused on ensuring all people in Scotland have the skills, information and opportunities to succeed in an increasingly global economy which is constantly evolving.

“STEM skills are central to achieving this, and the STEM Bursary plays an important role in attracting the right calibre of people into the classroom to help our young people fulfil their potential.”


STEM Bursaries are one of the actions within the STEM Strategy for Education and Training, published in October 2017. Skills Development Scotland administer the bursaries to students undertaking a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE).

The STEM Bursary targets for the past two years, both set at 100, were exceeded: 107 in 2018-19, and 111 in 2019-20.

For successful applications, Bursary payments will be made in 10 equal monthly instalments from September 2020 to June 2021.

To be eligible to apply for the 2020-21 scheme, candidates must:
• have been in employment for at least 36 months out of the last 60 months, including career breaks
• hold a 2.1 degree or meet the minimum ITE entry requirement with a relevant masters in their subject area
• have Higher English and National 5/credit level Maths, or equivalent
• be at least 36 months away from full-time education unless they have completed a paid PhD which includes teaching experience



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