Shahrzad Amjadi only had to wait a matter of days between finishing her final teaching placement and being offered a full-time job in a school.
But her success is virtually unheard of and the University of Notre Dame teaching graduate has had to move 17,000 kilometres for the position or face competing with 44,000 others who are waiting for a permanent teaching position with the NSW Department of Education.
The newly trained primary school teacher will start next month at Heathrow Primary School, a government school west of London.
Unlike Australia, which has a worsening oversupply of teachers, Britain is struggling to meet demand and figures suggest that a fall in the birth rate in the late 1990s will mean a “steady decline” in the population of 21-year-olds until 2022.
This means the overall pool of graduates is likely to fall and result in fewer trainee teachers, according to the UK’s Association of School and College Leaders. Schools have also been forced to spend £1.3b on temporary staff as a result of the chronic shortage of teachers.
But in NSW, the education department’s latest figures reveal that only 1.6 per cent of all teachers are aged 20-25 and it warns that by 2021 there will be a “more than adequate supply of primary teachers in all geographical locations” and an “adequate supply of secondary teachers”.
Ms Amjadi, 23, who has been working in early childhood and nannying while completing her degree, said she was attracted to working overseas because it would provide her invaluable experience when she returned to Australia.
“I might have been able to get some casual work in Sydney, but I would have had to put in 110 per cent just maybe to get a couple of days,” she said.
“I am really excited because I love the sound of the school [in the UK] and I got along really well with the principal in the interview and he really seemed to have a vision for the school so I think it is going to be a great experience for me.”
An international education recruitment consultant, Mitch Jones, said young teachers had been travelling to Britain on working holiday visas for many years but the demand for Australians was now much higher as Britain battles with its shortage of teachers.
“In the UK, there are not the same amount of people going into teacher training and that means we can’t keep up with demand for Aussie teachers over there,” Mr Jones, from Protocol Education Australia, said.
“There is also the professional development side of things because if you are applying for a job, 250 CVs can look quite homogenous but if you have something different, like experience overseas, that can really help in a teacher-saturated market.”