Erratic work opportunities leave Emma (22) far short of probation requirements
EMMA McCarthy qualified as a primary teacher last summer, but she still needs classroom experience to become a fully fledged member of the profession.
The 22-year-old Dubliner needs to complete a probationary period of a total of 170 days in school.
Within that, she must complete two blocks of 50 days each in one school, which could be covering for maternity leave or long-term illness.
But since September, Emma has found it impossible to get enough work to allow her to meet the probation requirements.
She is one of hundreds in the same position this year.
Her employment pattern has been erratic: a day substituting here, or a few days substituting there, in schools around the Stillorgan-Blackrock area where she lives.
She waits for the phone to ring each morning, but the longest teaching run she has had in any one school was one week and a couple of days.
Although career prospects are grim this year, it's even worse for those who have not completed probation.
"If you get probated it is easier to get an interview and easier to get a job," Emma told the Irish Independent.
"A few years ago, newly qualified teachers had no difficulty getting probated, but that has changed."
The lack of regular substitute work also hits newly qualified teachers in their pockets, because they do not qualify for holiday pay during July and August. Neither do they qualify for job-seeker allowances.
Emma doesn't want to emigrate, but even if it came to that she would still need to have her probation done to have a chance of getting a job elsewhere.