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The spark that got me into FE teaching

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When I was younger, I was not very good at primary school. Luckily for me though, I had a teacher who was determined to see me succeed. They invested time in me and helped prepare me for the working world. I will always be grateful that I had someone who helped change the course of my life. Shortly after leaving school, I joined the construction industry and after a few years, I was able to strike out on my own by setting up my own electrical installation business, I then further cemented my reputation in the industry by becoming the lead electrician at Castle Construction.

It was while I was studying at college to further my professional skills as an electrician that I was “talent spotted” by one of the teachers who asked me if I would consider Further Education (FE) teaching. I was surprised to learn you did not need a degree or existing teaching qualification to start FE teaching. I thought back to the teachers at school that inspired me, and all the apprentices I had the fortune to work with in the trade and how amazing it felt watching them grow into great electricians. It also helped that my wife is a teacher and I see the joy she gets preparing young people for the world. All of these factors made it an easy decision to give it a go. Once I had made the decision to apply, the process was really easy. I received support from a mentor at the college and had a reduced timetable so I could earn while I completed my teacher training on the job. The whole application was really easy, all I had to do was apply online, interview for the role and then teach a lesson under observation. I started teaching like many industry professionals do – part time and just a couple of days a week alongside my job in industry, but after covering for someone on sick leave, I fell in love with the profession and decided to go full time.

The best part of FE teaching for me is that “penny drop” moment when a student grasps something they have been struggling with. Often students find the technical principles challenging and you can see the self-doubt creep in – but they always get there in the end and it is really rewarding for both them and me. I remember one particular student who struggled with the science elements of the course. As we were coming towards the end of the academic year he was the only remaining student left to pass the exam and his self-confidence was low. After arranging some 1-2-1 tutoring sessions he finally passed the exam. The look of relief and happiness on his face was simply uplifting and will stay with me forever.

Supporting young learners to achieve their qualifications is particularly important to me because at the moment, there is a shortage of qualified electricians in the UK. A report by the Electrotechnical Skills Partnership estimated that an additional 15,000 fully qualified electricians will be required by 2024 due to predicted growth in the construction industry. I want to help fill that gap by teaching in FE and give students the practical skills that they can take with them into the working world. My hope is that this not only gives them the skills to earn a living, but also to thrive and take pride in what they do.

For those considering going into FE teaching, I would say just do it! It is an extremely rewarding job. If you have a passion for your profession, you will make a great FE teacher. The process is really simple, and there are full time and part time opportunities available. You can also earn while you do funded teacher training on the job. You will be inspiring the next generation of workers in your profession and ensuring your industry continues to have qualified people.

Dave Love is the Assistant Director of Apprenticeships & STEM at Warrington and Vale Royal College. Prior to teaching in Further Education, Dave had a successful career in the construction industry as an electrician, where he ran his own company. 

If you’re interested in sharing your skills through FE teaching, visit: https://www.teach-in-further-education.campaign.gov.uk/  You can also call the dedicated support team for 1-2-1 advice at 0800 389 2502 or email [email protected].

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