Teacher training

Bursary scheme to continue.

The STEM bursary scheme to encourage more people to train as secondary school teachers in Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Computing Science, Technical Education and Home Economics is set to continue. 

These are the secondary school STEM subjects with the greatest demand for teachers, and 150 bursaries will once again be available for career changers to apply for the £20,000 bursary in the next academic year while studying for a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE).

Skills Development Scotland will open the bursary scheme for applications on 5 April, 2021.

Education Secretary John Swinney said:

“The success of the scheme demonstrates that teaching is recognised as an attractive profession and I am pleased that we will once again be providing bursaries of £20,000 to career changers to support teacher training in certain STEM subjects where demand is at its greatest. 150 bursaries were awarded during the 2020/21 scheme.

“Those that decide to apply for the bursaries will step into a rewarding and exciting new career. We need fresh talent that can share their passion and wealth of expertise with young people. STEM is an integral part of our future economic and social development, and education, training and lifelong learning have a critical role to play in enthusing and encouraging everyone to build a strong base of STEM skills and knowledge.”

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

“As we adapt to a new economic environment, there’s increased focus on the support available to help people switch careers and adapt their skills and experience. The STEM Bursary represents a huge encouragement to those considering teaching STEM subjects - helping to attract talented individuals with the knowledge, skills and talents to support the learning of our young people.”

Jo Neilson, from Kirkliston, is undertaking a PGDE in Home Economics at Dundee University and grateful for the support of the STEM Bursary. Jo said:

"Having a young family, I couldn't figure out how I could find the time to do the teacher training. The Bursary has made it all possible - giving me the financial security and confidence to change careers, allowing me the chance to pursue this long-held dream to become a teacher."

Jo, who has undertaken her first school placement already, works part-time at a cook school, and spent several years in the hospitality industry and as a PA. She recognises the value her skills and experience will bring to her lessons.

Jo added:

"I always had a passion for home economics, and I knew I had the right set of skills. The industry experience - alongside my cook school work and Girlguiding volunteering - has reaffirmed how much I enjoy building positive relationships with young people and bringing lessons to life with my passion for the subject and real-life examples.”


STEM Bursaries supporting career changers to retrain as teachers in STEM subjects are one of the actions under the STEM Education and Training Strategy.


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