Acute teaching shortage in Buchan

Aberdeenshire Council has taken on a range of innovative measures to tackle staffing shortages across a range of different services.

Difficulties in recruiting new employees into Aberdeenshire from other parts of the country have created a shortfall in staff numbers in some services.

New figures show that there are 40 more teachers employed across Aberdeenshire than last year, but there remains a real issue in attracting teaching staff to the area.

The problem is particularly acute in north-east areas like Peterhead and Fraserburgh.

Members of the Policy & Resources Committee were told on Thursday last week that the council is currently forecasting to be £23 million within budget. Recruiting issues account for a “significant” element of this for the financial year 2012/13.

Councillors were told of a range of measures being undertaken to try and recruit new staff members, with specific targeting on hard to fill posts, including teachers and home carers.

As part of these measures, the council has already created 13 modern apprenticeship posts out of the target of 50 to be established by the end of the year.

This is part of a major investment by the council in the long-term training of staff to leave them in a good position to be considered for promoted posts within a short period of time.

For example, to tackle a shortage in staff experienced at a supervisory level within landscaping, less experienced staff are being taken on and provided with the relevant training. Elsewhere in Infrastructure Services, engineers are being taken on and provided with training to allow them to specialise in a particular field.

As part of a regular series of recruitment days organised by the council, there are four planned to take place in the next four months.

Homecarers and service users will be available at Westhill Holiday Inn on Sunday 20 January between 10am and 4pm.

Recruitment fairs will run in Macduff Town Hall on 12 February, in Peterhead in March and Aboyne in April.

Details will be issued closer to the time.