From education to employment

Why our Society for Education and Training matters and why you should join

Dan Williams, Chair of the Society for Education and Training (SET).

Chair of the Society for Education and Training (SET), Dan Williams, looks at how joining SET – the only professional membership body dedicated to the FE and Training sector – can enhance your career and support your professional development:

Professionalism is a highly contested, socially constructed concept that means different things to different people.

Tummons identified two distinct discourses in professionalism within the lifelong learning sector. One of an imposed and narrow professionalism and the other of autonomous and emancipatory professionalism. In my opinion, the Society for Education and Training (SET) is certainly making ground in the latter. Here’s why.

SET is the only professional membership body dedicated to you – a practitioner working in the wide-reaching FE and training sector.

From the large number of members representing GFE Colleges and Work Based Learning providers to those members who reside in community settings and governance, SET offers significant value to its members by providing a strong platform in which to increase their capability, by offering trusted credentials, by setting codes of practice and by supporting them to undertake research and advance our understanding of the sector.

You and every other member have a valuable contribution to make to the work and continued developments of SET and the offer it provides to its membership.

As a member of SET you get exclusive access to a major online research portal. No longer are others the gatekeepers to research; you have the freedom to explore the literature that is pertinent to your development and use this to inform your practice. Being more research-informed allows you to critically assess other people’s research as part of your evidence-based practice, rather than relying on others to provide the evidence second-hand.

There are always great examples of research into practice from across the sector in the quarterly inTuition magazine that all members receive in hard copy. Read about the different approaches that peers adopt in their classrooms and workshops to support learners, then try them for yourself.

SET membership provides you with the opportunity to make connections and build a strong network of peers and experts, both through online forums such as Facebook groups and webinars, and regular face-to-face networks in your local area.

This, coupled with the well-supported mentoring service, encourages collaborative, practitioner-led working; promoting the democratic profession that you deserve. In response to lots of feedback from members about how SET can better represent them, the new brand now reflects positivity, inclusivity and the strive for excellence: three key reasons you valued your career, being part of a professional community and your practice.

It would be remiss of me not to mention the importance of the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) Professional Standards in your professional development. The online self-assessment tool allows you to track your progress against each of the standards and on your terms. This supportive tool assists you in identifying strengths and areas for development.

Should you then decide to undertake some training, there are superb offers for high-quality professional development. Not only are there exclusive SET events to attend but you get a generous 15% off ETF foundation programmes. In the Autumn, there is also the exciting Annual SET Conference to attend, developed with SET members for SET members.

Further to all the above, as a member of SET, you have the opportunity to enhance your career via clear, robust and prestigious stepping stones such as QTLS and ATS.

These credentials hold real value in the market, with QTLS having legal parity with QTS and those conferred with ATS also gaining Chartered Teacher Status. If you want to stand out, then this is a great way to achieve recognition.

By joining SET, it not only demonstrates a level of commitment to your career but also shows that you are serious about your professional development. It’s important to remember though that paying your annual fee and pinning the digital badge to your email signature will not automatically produce results.

It is down to you and your desire to develop on your professional journey – but SET is a fantastic vehicle that will certainly help you along the way.

Dan Williams, Chair of the Society for Education and Training (SET).

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