Market failure that is severely affecting beginning teachers isn’t being helped by hundreds of thousands of dollars being thrown at the wrong solution.

In primary, new graduates find a brutal reality of far too few jobs. Of those who do manage to get a job, nearly a fifth of first year BTs are on insecure, short-term contracts and lack support. But rather than sit down to workforce planning, the government is instead paying a recruitment agency to tell graduates about their limited options.

In the four years to June 2015, Education Personnel received $946,238 in public funding. An Official Information Act request found that in the period March 2012 to January 2015, Education Personnel ran job seminars for 1878 education students and new graduates, and delivered Individual Job Find Assistance to 349 primary and secondary teachers, of whom 123 teachers found jobs. The company also recruits specialist teachers from overseas for the Ministry of Education and recruits schools for international research, such as PISA.

In the main cities, principals report receiving dozens of applications for every BT job.