THE United Arab Emirates has launched a drive to attract Scottish teachers to work in newly-established state technical schools.

The UAE is seeking maths, science, engineering, information technology and English teachers as part of moves to diversify its economy.

The country has long relied on oil and gas for its wealth, but is now seeking to expand vocational education to develop a range of occupations.

The country's Institute of Applied Technology (IAT) and the Abu Dhabi Vocational Educational and Training Institute have announced plans to recruit hundreds of teachers to take up posts in Technology High Schools for pupils aged 14-18.

Now the IAT has signed a contract with the Scottish-based company Worldteachers to provide 300 secondary school teachers.

Teachers with a minimum of one year's experience are being recruited to start in August this year on salary packages starting at £3700 a month – equivalent to £60,000 a year here before deductions. A secondary school teacher in Scotland working for a local authority with six years' experience would earn £34,000, but could be on £25,700 with just one year's experience.

Roddy Hammond, founder of Renfrewshire-based Worldteachers, said the value of teachers trained in Scotland was internationally recognised.

"They recognise the training in Scotland is excellent and although they are looking globally at English-speaking teachers, their preferred choice is staff from the UK and Scottish teachers are regarded very highly within that.

"They also want their students to benefit from learning about the Western culture the teachers will bring, not just about passing science exams."

The recruitment drive comes at a difficult time for newly qualified staff in Scotland with jobs hard to come by.

In recent years, hundreds of newly qualified staff have been unable to find jobs because councils have been cutting overall teacher numbers.

More recently, supply staff have had their pay cut, causing reported shortages across Scotland.

A spokesman for the Educational Institute of Scotland teaching union said: "It is no surprise Scottish-trained teachers are highly sought after in other countries, as all Scottish teachers are graduate professionals who are held to a particularly high set of professional standards."

Two years ago, the Abu Dhabi Education Council approved 47 new schools to create an additional 60,000 places for pupils.

Education chiefs have been told they need to hire at least 2350 qualified teachers to match their expansion plans for the schools system, with a target of nearly 9000 staff by 2015.