by Gloria Welton
The Public Schools Branch (PSB) serves more than 19,000 students from kindergarten to Grade 12 and employs more than 4,000 people across PEI. The 56 schools offer a variety of employment opportunities, including permanent, casual, and substitute positions.
Recently, the PSB held job fairs across the Island looking to hire substitute teachers, cleaners, custodians, bus drivers, administrative assistants, and educational support workers such as educational assistants.
Kelly Drummond, Director of Human Resources, Corporate Planning and Principal Support, says about 400 casual positions need to be filled, including approximately 50 bus drivers, 50 custodians, at least 100 educational support workers, and at least 250 substitute teachers who are available daily. “A big change for this year is that non-certified substitute teachers only need one year of post-secondary,” says Kelly. “In the past we were looking for two years.”
Benefits of PSB job fairs
Job fairs give those looking for work a chance to meet with human resources staff in person. “Job fairs are a great way for us to connect with people and see what they are interested in, to find out about their previous work and educational experience, and how we can help connect the dots and help guide them to where they could be a good fit.
“Also, it is a chance to hear about their personal needs. Some people may be able to work only a few days a week. So, this gives us knowledge on how they could successfully meet their needs and ours.
“We have a strong need for substitutes and casuals. People can work as much or as little as they want. This is also a way to explore other career opportunities while still making a living.
“Another job fair will be held close to the end of October so people can continue to reach out to us and share their experiences and career goals and see if we can help connect them to amazing careers with the PSB.”
Kelly talked about the PSB being a unionized environment so there are protocols they must follow as per the collective agreement. “I encourage people to not screen themselves out for opportunities. Please give us a call and ask to talk with someone about working with the PSB and we would be happy to have that discussion.”
Itinerant substitute positions offer full-time work for the school year
The PSB is offering a new model in all work categories. Itinerant substitutes will be hired to work full-time for the school year. These positions will require the employee to be available to move from school to school within a certain geographical area.
The model offers full-time work, and it also allows the PSB to move staff to where they are needed.
Increasing the number of substitutes needed
“Typically, we need 100 substitutes for every 1,000 permanent staff members. This year we are aiming for a higher number of substitutes to help cover pressure points throughout the year.
“Someone could start on the substitute list at the beginning of the school year, and then go on to taking a relief contract or a fixed term position.”
Securing a career path
Kelly also talked about positions such as substitute casual opportunities for educational support staff, which can be a great way to gain skills and explore options. “The HR and student services team partnered with SkillsPEI to put these training opportunities in place, and they have been very beneficial to people.
“People are getting work experience and some professional development as well, which has helped them get the credentials needed to secure permanent positions.”
Contacting the PSB HR department for guidance and support when applying for work
“Years ago, people would get into a career and stay on average 30 years. But today, people move around more often as they try to fulfill their interests and needs. That is why it is important to come in and talk to us at job fairs or at our office about employment aspirations.
“Some people may not have the qualifications they need to move forward in their area of interest, but we may be able to redirect them to an area that could work for them and for us, or suggest educational pathways based on their interests.
“Our biggest message to potential and existing employees is that we are here for them. If they run into challenges, they can look to our department as a strong resource to help problem solve.
“I encourage certified teachers who are looking to work as teachers to reach out to us so we can put a face to the name. As per our collective agreement, once a substitute works on contract for 370 days, they have priority consideration. Sometimes people who don’t have those hours have to wait until after the people who do get priority before they get true consideration.
“Please reach out to us because there will be upcoming opportunities. Plus, they have the option of taking an itinerant substitute role so full-time work is guaranteed within a certain geographic region. Other contracts could come up throughout the school year that they could apply to as well.
“We want people to stay connected to us, because we can’t run our system without each of our permanent, casual or substitute employees.”
Difficult positions to fill
Kelly says that predicting retirement numbers is different than it was. People are working much longer than they have in the past and many are starting their careers much later.
“We could see a large spike in retirement of school bus drivers, and we will have a continual need for counsellors. Our recruitment efforts for French educators is now at 96 percent. We have recruited a number of people from off-Island, which is tremendous because every province is struggling with filling this need. We still have to keep our focus in that area.
“Individuals who have specialized training in resources is another area of need. We encourage university students to look at these areas of great potential and opportunities.”
Kelly says she is grateful to the amazing human resource team. “Although our staff numbers have not increased in this department, we have been able to streamline and operate more efficiently. The staff have gone above and beyond.
“We also have phenomenal colleagues who we work with at the Public Service Commission, Health PEI, and other government departments. The province of PEI is very fortunate to have very skilled human resource staff. When we collaborate, our solutions can be shared across the board, because we all face the same staffing challenges. If we have the right people in the right places, then success can be mutual.
“Our message is that working in the educational field is very rewarding no matter what position you are in. What all the staff do every day is extremely important because that engagement they have with students makes such a difference.
“All work is very meaningful and there are lots of opportunities. If the position people are looking for is not available for them, we can work with them to help accomplish their career goals.
“We try to help people meet their needs while we meet ours. Coming out to job fairs is very important because there is a lot of listening and learning that takes place as we fill many opportunities. We want people to reach out if they have questions about the employment needs within the system so we can work with them to have better success.”
Casual and substitute positions available throughout the school year
The Public Schools Branch hires administrative assistants for the Branch Offices and across the 56 schools. Positions typically require a Grade 12 high school diploma or GED equivalent and a diploma in office studies from a recognized post-secondary institution. Testing of certain secretarial and clerical skills may be required for specific positions.
$19.50 per hour for casual positions
$24.38 to $29.03 for level 12 School Administrative Assistants
- Word processing, preparing and typing routine acknowledgements, newsletters, forms, and reports and receiving and recording incoming mail/email
- Maintain a filing system, records, and other reference material and other clerical duties
- Receive phone calls and visitors
- Maintain the PowerSchool system
- Arrange transportation on the extra-curricular and co-curricular activities and assist with organizing such activities
- Maintain bussing information and logs of students’ late arrival and early departures
- Responsible for student data records
- Complete payroll information
- Update information and photos in a blog/webpage
- Manage the Hot Lunch food program
- other related duties
Educational Support Workers include the following positions:
Educational Assistants work under the supervision of a teacher with students who have a variety of special educational needs including behavior. A willingness to work collaboratively with a support team consisting of parents and professionals is a necessary component of this position.
Qualifications include two years of formal training in the education of persons with special educational needs (e.g., Human Services program) or any equivalent program from a recognized institution. For a listing of equivalent programs, contact the Registrar’s office.
Salary: $24.02 to $28.59 per hour.
Youth Service Workers work under the direction of school counsellors and teachers to assist in the development and implementation of specific behaviour management and social and life skill programs.
Qualifications include the Youth Service Worker Program from Holland College or a similar program from another recognized post-secondary institution.
Salary: $25.74 to $30.66 per hour
Student Attendants work under the direction of the school administration and attend to the personal needs of students with special physical challenges by providing mobility and physical care support.
Qualifications include a Resident Care Worker course and Grade 12 or GED equivalent.
Salary: $20.30 to $22.20 per hour
Workplace Assistants work closely with the Student Services team to provide a variety of direct and indirect supports to special needs students as part of their transition from school to community.
Qualifications include Grade 12 or GED, with relevant experience and/or training in working with children/youth with physical or mental disabilities.
Salary: $19.14 to $20.93 per hour
Bus drivers are an essential part of the Island education system. Thanks to school bus drivers, 17,000 students are transported via 14,000 bus stops to and from 56 schools across the Island every day.
Salary: Substitute drivers earn $17.80 per hour.
Permanent drivers earn Step 4 – $22.39, Step 5 – $23.34 and Step 6 – $24.32 per hour
- Class 2 driver’s license and five years of driving experience
- Criminal Record Check
- Desire to join a positive work culture!
Cleaners work in the cleaning and care of school properties. Work involves maintaining assigned premises in a clean and orderly condition by following established methods.
Qualifications include grade 12 high school diploma or GED and WHMIS training. Must be able to work unsupervised in an assigned area, be in good physical health with the ability to lift up to 70 lbs. and climb various heights and work overhead and in a kneeling position. Requirements also include other duties related to maintaining cleaning standards, good organizational and interpersonal skills, and other duties required to carry out the work.
Salary: $15.32 per hour for substitute cleaners
$19.15 to $20.77 per hour for permanent cleaners
Certified and Non-certified Substitute Teachers
Authorization must be granted to substitute teach on PEI by the Registrar at the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning. If you do not have a teaching degree, you may be eligible for a temporary permit.
To substitute for a teacher in a k-12 classroom you must have successfully completed at least one full year of academic study at a recognized post-secondary institution in a subject area being taught in the PEI public school system.
To substitute for a senior high career or technical education teacher, you must hold a recognized trade certification such as a Red Seal in automotive, carpentry, welding or cooking, which includes completion of a minimum one-year program or required number of weeks of block training for the trade at a recognized post-secondary institution and a minimum four years of work experience or minimum required for the trade.
Certified Teacher $204.33 per day
Non-certified Substitute Teacher- $132.66 per day
HOW TO APPLY TO ALL POSITIONS:
To be on the casual and substitute lists, complete an online application at www.gov.pe.ca/jobspei/posting/education/external
Paper copies are available at the Stratford and Summerside Public School Branch offices.
All external available positions are posted on the Jobs PEI website at www.gov.pe.ca/jobs
For any questions or further information, contact the Human Resources department of the Public Schools Branch at 1-800-280-7965 or email firstname.lastname@example.org