It's like "The Portland Trip" episode of The West Wing when Labour education spokesman Ken Macintosh challenged education minister Fiona Hyslop earlier this week. He called on her to provide extra funds to help newly-qualified teachers who are struggling to find work.
Now I know this particular problem is nothing new. Indeed by younger brother amongst the various letters of professional qualifications after his name has a PGCE from Durham, which along with his MA from St. Andrews failed to secure him more than two years work as a teacher. Even when that probationary period was up he applied for jobs in all four corners of the UK, and I mean almost literally the four corners. Which for someone who had been married only two years to someone who was finishing their PhD in a set location was a real potential sacrifice to try and keep in the first profession he had chosen.
Now the fact that I know this happened before New Labour swept to power in 1997 shows that the problem that Mr Macintosh has highlighted is nothing new. Indeed it is something that has been around for longer than Labour have actually been in power. There is a glut of new teachers in certain subjects who have difficulty finding work while there is a shortage in other areas. There is a problem there that is for sure, but while it is true that some newly qualified teachers find it difficult to find work that is somewhat an issue with the planning of the training establishments making supply outstrip demand in their specialties.
Science and maths are areas that there is a major shortfall in qualified teachers, Mr Macintosh should really be looking for ways to encourage graduates in these fields into the profession (like the example muted by Charlie Young in that West Wing episode). He needs to work with Ms Hyslop to get an audit carried out of teaching needs in Scotland for the forthcoming years, to ensure these needs are adequately covered first and foremost.
If there are jobs available but other restrictions than area of expertise in newly qualified teachers taking up posts that are available, cost of housing etc then yes address those issues. But first you need to ensure that those who qualify are the right balance to meet expectations.