New Zealand wants Irish teachers, but what are they offering?
‘Irish teachers are highly sought and are most popular with our schools and students’
What is on offer for Irish teachers in New Zealand, and is it worth the move?
The global teacher shortage has prompted an innovative response from the New Zealand government: a NZ$5,000 (€2,850) relocation bonus for teachers coming to work there from abroad.
Garrett O’Dowd, director of TeachAndExplore.com, says salaries can’t quite compete with those on offer for Irish teachers in the United Arab Emirates and China, but that there are other tempting incentives for those looking to relocate.
“Irish teachers are highly sought and are some of the most popular with our schools and students,” says Stuart Birch of Education Personnel, one of the New Zealand companies recruiting teachers on behalf of the New Zealand government.
“We wonder if this is because of a similar national psyche: Ireland and New Zealand are both islands of around four million people, both rather fond and rugby and with much bigger countries just over the water. Education Personnel are looking to appoint over 300 teachers for early 2019 so there are a high number of opportunities.”
So, what is on offer for Irish teachers in New Zealand, and is it worth the move?
Where the jobs are: There are teaching jobs available throughout the country, especially in Auckland and Wellington. Martin Churchill, product and sales manager for USIT, says most Irish tend to stay in those two cities, while Birch says jobs around the ski fields can be hard to find in the New Zealand winter. There are also opportunities in surrounding areas of some of the most beautiful parts of the South Island, such as Milford Sound.
Who’s hiring: There’s a strong demand for both primary and post-primary teachers. Second-level maths, science, and design technology/ workshop teachers have their pick of jobs. Education Personnel and other agencies are actively recruiting early childhood teachers as well. You’ll find a list of available jobs on the New Zealand Education Gazette.
Life in New Zealand: Although the South Island can be a bit cooler and wetter, summers are generally warmer and winters milder than in Ireland. It’s a paradise for anyone interested in outdoor activities, with a spectacular landscape that seas, mountains, forests and ski fields perfect for skydiving, cycling, mountain climbing and more. And, of course, it’s a big wine-producer. But over the past few years, rents have risen and - like the main cities in Ireland - housing can be scarce, particularly in Auckland.
“The lifestyle is the big offering,” says O’Dowd. “We see teachers going there for a year or two and maybe spending some time in Australia as well. It’s very appealing to young, newly qualified teachers.”
Salaries: As well as the NZ$5,000 relocation bonus, salaries start at NZ$45,000 (€25,700 - around €10,000 less than the salary on offer for graduate teachers in Ireland). That said, the cost of living is lower in many parts of New Zealand. More experienced teachers can earn up to NZ$78,000 (approximately €44,500) and documented experience is rewarded. Most Irish teachers can expect to be on point 3 of the salary scale: NZ$47,990 - 71,891 (€27,389 - 41,038). However, following a recent teacher-strike, the Labour-led government is expected to raise teacher salaries.
Applying: The good news is that almost all Irish teachers are pre-approved for teaching in New Zealand, and face less bureaucratic hurdles. USIT, Education Personnel, TeachAndExplore and other agencies can help guide applicants through the process of registering with their version of the teaching council, as well as organise visas and job interviews.
Registering with the Education Council of New Zealand takes about eight weeks and costs about NZ$300 (just over €170). Applicants need to provide qualifications and transcripts, evidence of English language proficiency, proof of Garda vetting and/or police vetting from any country the teacher has lived in for more than a year within the previous ten years, proof of English language proficiency, their CV, a copy of their most recent teaching appraisal, a testimonial from the candidate’s most recent professional leader and a list of professional development completed.
USIT will host a teach in New Zealand information evening in Dublin on November 22nd. See usit.ie/work-abroad/teach-in-new-zealand