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Airsupply: The Inspiration behind the company
An investor-backed entrepreneur has launched a revolutionary online service for supply teachers and schools which is being piloted in Croydon schools. Karin Hogsander, a successful executive and daughter of a supply teacher has launched Airsupply – a platform to match and connect supply teachers with local schools seeking supply teaching support. The service was developed in close collaboration with South London teachers and schools and therefore this area is one the first to benefit from this exciting new way of working together.
Working in co-operation with Croydon Head Teachers’ Association and Octavo, AirSupply has launched a pilot in the region, to facilitate the recruitment of supply teachers for the busy Summer term and beyond. The area was chosen by the team at Airsupply after intense support and collaboration was offered by local teachers and schools. There was also strong local support for the idea from the very beginning, and input from local trials have helped shape the service, which will be rolled out nationally later this year.
Founding the business
The inspiration for the business originally stemmed from Karin’s childhood, when she witnessed her mother’s work as a supply teacher. Karin saw first-hand the stress caused by the prospect of going into an unknown class with little or no prior preparation available.
The idea was ignited in 2016 after Karin saw first hand the difficulties that her own children’s schools were having in finding and recruiting supply teachers. When speaking to teachers about this issue, the challenges that they complained of in dealing with supply agencies also struck a chord with Karin’s experience in healthcare recruitment, where she had spent time negotiating similarly strict employment and safeguarding criteria.
Realising that if she could apply the same principles and approach in education recruitment that she had done in healthcare, Karin felt that she could improve the outdated telephone-based agency model and simplify the process for both teachers and schools.
Airsupply works on the simple premise of connecting supply teachers and nearby schools looking to fill temporary vacancies. Supply teachers are able to state their available dates, teaching preferences and day rate expectations whilst schools can post their requirements. Airsupply shows both schools and teachers which “matches” are available and enables them to connect directly, without using an agency.
Karin comments: “We are so excited to be launching Airsupply in South London, starting in Croydon, an area which has so many talented supply teachers and schools. We hope that we can support schools to free up budget, time and resources, which are so often stretched, a problem that the existing agency approach does little to combat! In addition, teachers should have more control over which roles they take than what is often the case today.”
Karin continues “The latest statistics show that the UK schools are spending in excess of £1bn annually on agencies – with a high proportion of that money going straight to agency bottom lines rather than supporting the development of teachers or pupils. We want to fix this and also support supply teachers in providing them with a smoother, more fair way of finding their ideal supply roles.”
Air Supply are launching to Croydon schools from June and nationally in September. For more information and to register visit their website www.airsupply.org.uk.