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Paedophile fears hit teaching skills pool
Northern Ireland is facing a shortage of male teachers because they fear being labelled as paedophiles, a union claims.

The Ulster Teachers Union says that almost 90% of students on one primary teaching course were female.

The body has called upon Education Minister Angela Smith to address the risk to the learning skills pool.

BBC education correspondent Maggie Taggart noted the prejudices which may be keeping males from training as teachers.

“They may worry that they’ll be accused of being paedophiles or they may view teaching as a nurturing profession best suited to woman,” she said.

She added that salary or working conditions may not be enough to enlarge the skills pool.

“The union also says men feel the pay is not high enough or that they’re likely to face hassle from parents who know their rights but not their responsibilities,” she said.

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Female graduates more skilled than men
Women are more likely than men to be employed six months after graduating from a degree, research shows.

Around eight per cent of men were unemployed six months after a first degree, almost double the amount of women (4.7%), the Higher Education Careers Service Unit (Hecsu) reports.

Total employment figures after a first degree were 73.6% for women and 70% for men.

Dr Charlie Ball, Hecsu labour market analyst, said women were more willing to gain skills to improve their chances for jobs.

For more on this story see: TrainingZONE

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Develop careers or risk skills loss, firms told
Employers must assist staff career development or risk losing them to a competitor, new research claims.

The survey of 1,100 UK finance professionals revealed that over half (53%) are seeking a new job, according to recruitment consultancy Robert Half Finance and Accounting.

Fifty-five per cent of these cite better training and career prospects as the main reason to move. This figure reaches more than three quarters (76%) among finance professionals under the age of 25.

Over a third (37%) have worked for five or more organisations over their careers. Men are more likely than women to leave their current position.

Forty per cent are not afraid to move jobs to seek improved training opportunities, whereas only a third of women feel the same.

Dave Jones, UK Managing Director of the recruitment body, said: “Employers must put new practices and systems in place, such as training to help team members build new skills.”

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CPD popularity soars
Continued professional development (CPD) is a mandatory requirement for 50% of institutions quizzed in the second survey looking at CPD activity by Echelon Learning Ltd.

The findings show no marked changes from when the same sentiments were tested in 2004. However, the report shows that of those that don’t make it a compulsory requirement many plan to do so within the next five years.

Other key findings include:

  • Compared to 2004 there is less emphasis on measuring CPD in relation to hours or points acquired.
  • Where hours of CPD activity undertaken are measured, about two-thirds of such institutions require between 20 and 40 hours of activity per year with one-third requiring more.
  • Two-thirds of respondents said that an individual’s membership could ultimately be suspended or withdrawn if CPD requirements were persistently not complied with.
  • Almost all respondents regard learning to enhance professional and technical skills as a part of CPD. However, at least 75% of those surveyed also saw developing management, business and personal skills as important.
  • Institutions see career advancement and promotion as the greatest benefit of CPD, with over 50% also seeing improved performance in the current job as an important benefit.
  • Almost 90% of those surveyed offered members a means of recording their CPD activity. This was the most universal means of support.
  • Almost 75% of responding institutions do accredit learning for their students.

The results are based on the feedback of around 50 institutions.

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NCFE backs UK bid to host WorldSkills 2011 competition
National awarding body, NCFE has pledged its support to UK Skills in the bid for the UK to host the WorldSkills Competition in 2011.

According to the organisers this is the biggest skills competition in the world and is held every two years.

Hosting the WorldSkills competition would have a number of direct benefits for the UK say NCFE. These include a move from competence to excellence, reducing the skills gaps, minimising the current skills shortages, and re-engaging the disaffected.

For more on this story see: TrainingZONE

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Teaching numbers swell
There are 3,500 more teachers since last year, according to official statistics and 36,200 more teachers working in schools than there were in 1997.

Welcoming the news, the Government put part of the success down to better pay prospects. From this September an experienced teacher in inner London could earn up to £40,000 with Heads being able to earn over £100,000.

An increase of 22,300 support staff this year is also helping teachers to focus on the core business of teaching, said the Government.

Jacqui Smith, Minister for Schools said: “We have made significant progress in meeting our commitment to limit the class sizes for five, six and seven year olds, this year the number of classes that contravene class size regulations has fallen.

“However, there has been a small rise in the number of classes – with valid exceptions – where numbers exceed 30 children. The Government has a range of legal powers that can be used to ensure that schools fulfil their legal obligations on class sizes, and there should be no doubt that we will not hesitate to use them where necessary.”

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