From education to employment

Technical Teaching Fellowships: Encouraging applications from across the UK

Launch event for Technical Teaching Fellowships at Cardiff and Vale College in June 2023

With the deadline to apply for the 2024/25 Technical Teaching Fellowships now just three months away, I’m looking forward to hearing from the many excellent teachers and trainers of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) from across the FE sector about how they propose to use this opportunity.

This year we expect an even greater number of applications because the Fellowships are now open to teachers and trainers from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales – as well as England – for the first time.

We announced that expansion of eligibility in March, alongside an increase in the number of Fellowships that can now be awarded each year; now up to six compared to the three or four awarded in previous years. Those changes have happened because of the Technical Teaching Fellowships becoming part of the permanent portfolio of awards of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, after a review that judged them to be highly successful and impactful in the first five years of their existence.

Awarded jointly by the Royal Commission and the Education and Training Foundation (ETF), the Technical Teaching Fellowships have attracted very high-quality applicants from a variety of STEM subjects. Their passion for, and dedication to, both their own subjects and the advancement of technical teaching and training more generally, have shone through. It has been a pleasure to work with them to bring their proposals to life and see how their endeavours have helped – and continue to help – support and disseminate excellence across the sector.

The value of these individuals’ work has been widely recognised and we have been working very closely with the Welsh Government over the Spring and Summer to ensure that colleagues in Wales are aware that they are now eligible to apply for the Fellowships.

Keen watchers of the Senedd – Wales’s governing assembly – would have noticed a statement on post-16 workforce development in July by Minister for Education and the Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles MS. In that statement he outlined the wider work the Welsh Government is doing to support continuous professional development, announcing a new professional development hwb for teachers and trainers. The hwb features resources and information for practitioners, including details of the Technical Teaching Fellowships, which Mr Miles encouraged practitioners in science and technology to apply for and use to showcase the work they are delivering. In questions following the statement Mr Miles also heralded the contribution the Fellowships are making to promoting equality of opportunity for women in technical teaching, in which they are currently under-represented.

In terms of profiling and promoting the Fellowships in Wales, this was of course a significant and welcome step, but it is just the latest element of our collaboration with Welsh Government colleagues and the support they have offered over many months. The formal launch of the Fellowships to sector colleagues in Wales actually took place a month earlier, with an event at Cardiff and Vale College in June, at which Mr Miles, three current Fellows – Rosa Wells, Chris Fairclough and Lynda Broomhead – and I, presented. Attended by colleagues from providers, employers and wider stakeholders, the event was a chance to hear not just about the rationale for the Fellowships, how they work and what to do to make an application, but also to hear first-hand about the experience of being a Fellow from those who have already trodden the path.

They discussed how they have been sharing their effective practice to support quality improvement in technical STEM teaching and training, as well as demonstrating innovative STEM careers apps and teaching tools including resources for developing transferable employability skills, supporting learners of all ages, levels and sectors, to develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours to progress to higher levels of technical study and/or employment.

This activity is important because there are acknowledged skills shortages in STEM subjects in the Further Education and Training sector, so anything we can do to promote and further excellence in these fields to enable knowledge exchange and transfer activities and support quality improvement is valuable. Extending the eligibility for the Fellowships to practitioners in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will help increase their reach and widen the network of colleagues they benefit.

If applying interests you or one of your colleagues, or if you believe that a colleague deserves to be recognised for their excellent practice, you can find out more on the Technical Teaching Fellowships page of the ETF website. Applications are encouraged from exceptional technical teachers in the FE and Training/post-16 sector and are awarded following a rigorous selection process.

Fellowships recognise outstanding practitioners with high-impact teaching practice, who deliver effective outcomes for their learners and apprentices of all ages and levels, and in diverse subject specialist areas and industry sectors. They play an important role in driving quality improvement in FE technical teaching and training, facilitating CPD for sector colleagues and sharing effective practice, thought leadership, resources and ideas. Applications for the 2024/25 Fellowships close on 24 November 2023. We look forward to hearing from you, wherever you are in the UK.

By Cerian Ayres, National Head of Technical Education, Education and Training Foundation

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