From education to employment

Chesterfield College gives graduates an insight into a teaching career in further education

Chesterfield College

Keen to play a role in developing the next generation of talent into further education, Chesterfield College has welcomed a new cohort of eager graduates and undergraduates into the organisation to give them a unique insight into a teaching career as part of the Education and Training Foundation’s programme, Talent to Teach. This is the second year the college has been part of the programme and they are already seeing many positive benefits.

The Talent to Teach programme was mentioned in the recent Skills for Jobs white paper, published by the government, as one important initiative which will be developed to help tackle the growing recruitment problem in the further education sector. The document highlights that half of principals in the UK say recruitment is difficult, so the need to act now is vitally important.

Becoming a provider of Talent to Teach programme was an opportunity for Chesterfield College to nurture talent and build a workforce for the sector. Equally, the team were keen to share their passion for role they play in their community, and the difference they make to their students and apprentices.

Jo Kershaw, Director of Business Professional and Service Industries, who manages the Talent to Teach programme at Chesterfield College said:

“Like many other colleges up and down the country, Chesterfield College wants to attract the very best talent to pass on their knowledge and expertise to students and apprentices. The Talent to Teach programme gives us the chance to highlight the benefits of a career in further education. It also helps graduates to understand that their knowledge and skills are in demand in the sector.

“For too long further education has been overlooked by many who might have a desire to teach. It has been fascinating to see the participants on this programme discover the possibilities open to them in colleges and we have seen our staff develop their mentoring skills too.”

During the programme the participants work alongside, and are mentored by, college staff as they take part in a range of activities to give them an insight into the breadth and scope of teaching in further education. They also experience day to day life helping students to succeed.

After mandatory safeguarding training, the participants observe and take part in lessons as well as carry out a micro teach. They also attend ask the expert sessions to learn about a range of other topics from Ofsted to supporting students with special educational needs.

The first intake of students on the programme, who took part before the pandemic, worked in the classroom with groups of students. The new intake has been experiencing teaching online and working with college staff virtually.

The fact that the programme is now being delivered virtually has had hidden benefits, allowing participants from a larger geographical area to access it. This was important because the pandemic meant only a quarter of the colleges who normally take part in the programme were able to offer places this year. Chesterfield College were keen to continue and demonstrate how they had adapted teaching and learning over lockdown.

Feedback from the previous intake of students highlights that 100% of those who took part have a higher level of interest in a teaching career in further education following the programme. The value of taking a hands on approach during the scheme was a huge benefit to the participants who may have been witnessing the world of further education for the first time.

One politics and history graduate on the current Talent to Teach programme, Tyler Yves, commented: “I left school with a handful of GCSEs but studied in FE as a mature student on an access to HE course. I understand the motivations of adult learners who study in FE colleges. There has always been this preconception that you were born to teach but I think so much has changed and I think we need to see how we can transfer skills into teaching as a viable career option. I can see the day to day difference I could make in a young person’s life by being part of FE. After a few sessions on the programme, I already find myself googling PGCE information!”

Sanaa Khalifa, a second year economics student said: “There are so many jobs and careers out there and you don’t know what to do unless you experience it first-hand which is why I wanted to take part in Talent to Teach. Now I am doing it, I do see myself in a teaching career in FE as opposed to working in business. It really has changed my outlook.”

Raina Roberts, Project manager for Talent to Teach at Cognition Education, the organisation running the programme on behalf of the Education and Training Foundation, said:

“It has been an absolute delight having Chesterfield College as a provider with the Talent to Teach in FE programme. Jo Kershaw and the team at the college have been incredible to work with and have put a great deal of passion into delivering the programme. Our partner providers, including Chesterfield College, are passionate about helping us raise the profile of further education and support us in establishing a high-quality pipeline of entrants for the sector.”

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