Nick Smith MP has challenged the Prime Minister about a £10m scheme to give soldiers a teaching career that is in danger of being a flop.
The Troops to Teachers scheme promised to fast track ex-service personnel into a rewarding career helping the next generation find their path in life.
But four years and £10m on from its announcement, only 41 future teachers have qualified for the scheme.
As a result, Mr Smith used Prime Ministers’ Questions to press home the importance of the scheme to David Cameron.
The Blaenau Gwent MP will now be writing to the Prime Minster to hold him to his promise that he will “look very carefully” at the programme to make it work.
Speaking after PMQs, Mr Smith said: “I applaud any scheme that gives our servicemen and women a chance at a real career after their time serving their country.
“But this is being left to wither on the vine and is just too restrictive.
“A constituent from Abertillery wanted to join Troops to Teachers, but was told he would not be eligible as he was a graduate.
“I am concerned restrictions such as this have stopped a perfectly noble cause in its tracks. 41 signups so far is a woeful number.
“We’re in a tough time to get a job and this Government’s short sightedness is just making it tougher.
“It is all the more relevant in recent years with conflicts around the globe putting added pressure on our armed forces.
“This should be a success story to shout from the rooftops, but so far it’s turning out to be a bit of a flop.”
The exchange in the House of Commons is as follows:
Nick Smith (Blaenau Gwent) (Lab): Why has it taken four years to recruit just 41 teachers into the £10 million Troops to Teachers programme?
The Prime Minister: We support the Troops to Teachers programme. I will look very carefully at what the hon. Gentleman says, because it is a good idea and a good proposal, and I want to make sure it is working.