SY – What are your job prospects like?
Maria – I am not at all confident about getting a job in the current climate. Having spent three years studying it looks as if it is for nothing. I have applied for advertised vacancies but I haven’t even got interviews because this year there are loads of experienced teachers who are now unemployed because of the cutbacks, competing with those of us who are newly qualified. I have also sent out lots of CVs but haven’t got a single reply.
It looks at the moment that I will have to settle for substitution work or a job in a private school that will pay a lot less than the agreed rates for teachers. I have been offered a post in a private pre-school for children with special needs that will pay me €20,000 a year – about half of what I should be earning as a qualified teacher. There are 30 students qualifying this year in my college – only four have teaching jobs lined up.
SY – Are government cutbacks affecting you in any other way?
Maria – Due to an illness, I have been in receipt of disability allowance. Because of the cutbacks to the back to work allowance implemented in the mini-budget, I am in a terrible bind. If I take up the only job I’ve been offered – the low paid work in a private school, I’ll lose a benefit that is essential to me given my condition – my medical card. It’s barely worth my while to work in this job as a result. As a young person and a dedicated teacher, I feel I’ve a lot to offer but have been cheated out of a future due to government cutbacks in education and health that has put me in this position