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How do you get into teaching in FE colleges unqualified, when you're..um, unqualified?

Discussion in 'Further Education' started by Matineeidol, Aug 17, 2009.

  1. Have you thought about prison education? I work in one (for an FE College) and whenever we advertise we don't get many applicants.........I must admit I wrote it off initially when I saw the ad. It's a challenging environment and the majority of learners have real barriers to break down before you get to teach them anything but it can be very rewarding. You need to really want to work in one as the security checks themselves are lengthy, but we often take on volunteers who are in a similar situation to yourself and provide a mentoring system. Those volunteers can then be found paid work as there is always leave to cover- prison education goes on for 52 weeks a year! No long summer break at HMP!!
    By the way - I started teaching in FE many years ago without a teaching qual but with my subject specialism, my PGCE came a lot later and I found it useful but not necessary to do my job. Good luck :0)
  2. Hi,
    Personally, I wouldn't completely write off doing a PGCE. Some universities and colleges offer a PGCE in post-compulsory education and training which covers everything 16+ and it doesn't necessarily mean you will end up teaching A levels. PGCE tutors also tend to find it really difficult to find everyone placements so you might also be advantaged if you tell them that you're not really interested in teaching A level. You may also want to get in touch with a skills provider, like Skills Solutions because they may be able to offer you a job once you have finished your PTLLS course, which I think is the bare minimum you need in order to teach.
    Hope it helps

  3. My advice? Don't! I went into FE as a PGCE trained graduate after working in secondary schools, managed to last 6 yrs but finally left as I felt hounded as I have a disability and had to argue so much for 'reasonable adjustment' I gave up the unequal struggle. I managed to get a voluntary severance agreement but felt really demoralised and spent the next 6 yrs doing supply as I couldn't face a 'proper' job. FE is a case of constantly watching one's back, as well as being stabbed in it by people you think are colleagues but are watching their own backs......

    Having said that, I'm now back in FE indirectly, teaching ESOL in Offender Learning, although considering moving to a private sector prison as I have issues with the way Education is run in my current establishment: not all due to the FE College involved.
    Offender learning is a good way in if you are really intent on FE as you will get paid while you do the various courses. My advice would be to do a PGCE as you can work in schools with that and even on supply, the pay is far better. You can work in FE with a PGCE but not in schools (or only as an 'instructor - which is explotative, as you do the same job for less money) and therefore it keeps your options open.

    Hope this helps!
  4. Although you are looking into the PTTLS,CTTLS, DTLLS route, it is my opinion, as an FE teacher that the best method is to take the PGCE/CertEd route.
    Dont forget, all FE lecturers have to qualify and take QTLS within 5 years of post qual. (Qualified teacher learing and skills]
    If you take the PGCE route, this not only prepares you for the role in that you cover a first person learning curve, you will also take a 150 hour placement in a collge of FE.
    For QTLS, you need to demonstrate by quals or equivalency the ability to work at a level 3 in the specialism.
    If you take the full time route, you would get a bursary and grant.

  5. triciasnaith

    triciasnaith New commenter

    Just go for it - the sector hasn't yet sorted itself out. You will get qualified as you go along. It can be fun. Enjoy it when you get started.
  6. WBS


    Having been in FE for 8 years, the two main skills that you will need are patience and more patience. Life skills, occupational experience and qualifications will enable you to start, but it will be in the area in which you have been trained and are occupationally competent. The 16 to 19 group are extremely challenging, 19 to 25 are a little easier, but 25+ require all your attention, life skills and patience.
  7. I am following a similar route to yourself but in numeracy. I started working as a sessional learner support for my local adult & community learning. I achieved my PTLLS and CTLLS whilst in this role and then applied for a sessional tutor role (for which I was successful) within the same organisation and am about to embark on the DTLLS.

    I understand where you are coming from when you say 'I was horrified that somebody would be prepared to put an unqualified and inexperienced person in front of a group in that way' but you are clearly well educated having been through university and you will have picked up valuable experience and knowledge in the years that you have worked in support roles. Have confidence in yourself. You can do it.

    I'm not saying it is all easy, there is a fair bit of work to do, but I'm sure you will have experienced that being a university graduate. If you get a job with a decent organisation, as I myself have, I'm sure they will give you loads of help and support. Go for it!
  8. Hi
    The majority of FE colleges offer vocational courses and therefore require tutors with the relevant experience, i.e. car mechanics, hairdressing, health & social care, etc. You' d be hard pushed to find someone - for example - an ex garage/forecourt manager with years of motor vehicle experience who also happened to have a teaching qualification. This is why, through necessity, FE colleges often initially employ unqualified staff and then put them through the relevant training programme. There is also a 'non-prevalent' managerial view that the skills required by FE tutors are transferrable to almost any subject and over a number of years I found myself teaching Numeracy, Literacy, ICT, English and Health & Social Care! I started with just a 'City and Guilds '7306' Introduction to Teaching - roughly equivalent of PTLLS qualification, which I undertook at my local evening college. The real training starts once you are already in the classroom ...not for the feint hearted but you should find most FE colleagues extremely supportive.
    I would suggest you apply directly to Colleges for a position as a Literacy tutor (some keep a small bank of cover staff they can call on) or register with an agency such as Nord Anglia/Reed Education. As you have a degree, there is also the option to convert your DTLLS to a PGCE during the final year.
    Hope this helps.
  9. Ah-ah!
    Look before you leap I say.
    I work in an primarily FE college. I fell into it really and am still stuck at it.
    Part-time tutors are often needed to fill in gaps and they (the college) may generally take anyone who is keen enough or stupid enough to do it if they are desperate for staff. Obviously now, if you choose to accept this mission you must start a Cert ed / PGCE etc. It is not like in schools - you do get the job first and then get qualified to teach. Before the new IFL stuff came in though, who's to say anyone had a teaching qualification?!
    Of course you need knowledge and skills relevant for the subjects you teach, but this is not always the case - you may get 'asked' to teach a subject you know nothing or very little about, but you've just got to take a deep breath and go for it. A learning curve for everyone concerned and it can work out either way.
    Good luck!
    I hope you find a happy place to work.
  10. Hi there,
    I'm in a bit of a rush so haven't read through all the answers to your post so someone else has probably answered your question. Just to say that i teach literacy in Hackney in London and we run a training course here where you get placed in a literacy class whilst your training for the first year. You then have to get 4 hours teaching to progress onto the second year. It is all part of a PGCE that's based at the Institute of Education. If you are not based in London I suppose you could ask them if they know of anywhere in your area where they run a similar course?
    Good Luck!
  11. Hi
    I don't know whether this reply is a bit late, or whether you have already bagged yourself a job in FE, if not, hopefully ths may help.
    I was in a similar situation myself. I am also an English graduate and when I decided to go in to teaching I considered doing the 11-18 PGCE in English Secondary, but then I went to observe some lessons and I decided it was far too scary! Anyway, lke you, I had no formal teaching qualifications, but I was already working with ALS at a college so I decided to apply for a Skills for Life job I had seen advertised. I was very surprised when they ofered it to me! I teach Literacy and Numeracy, but the level is not too demanding, and I often feel that if you can understand where students find maths difficult, you're far better at teaching it. To be honest, although my specialism and knowledge lies in English, I do feel that I am more effective when teaching numeracy!
    I am now (two years into the job) completing the second year of the PGCE in Post Compulsory Education- It's run over two years, part time, so you can teach alongside,
    I would suggest that you kept a look out for Skills for Life jobs at your local FE college. Many of them are now piloting Functional English, Maths, and ICT so they may be looking for other staff. Colleges can also offer variable hours to staff. I think the best advice I can give is to take any teaching job offered, and, so long as they like you, and you're good at what you do, it is easy to get jobs in other departments.

    Good luck! x
  12. Do not do this to yourself if you value your sanity!
    My advice to you is do not touch the FE sector with a barge pole. Take your degree and get yourself into Higher Education teaching.
    The role of FE is to be a safety net for learners who have not done so well at school that they can enter higher education. Sadly, this also reflects the ability of the academic ( I use that word loosely) staff and particularly the management who, in my experience are inept and would not last a day out in industry.

  13. One of many roles, and an valuable one at that.
    Rubbish. But what is true is that colleges get the quality of staff they pay for.
    Sadly true.
  14. But what is true is that colleges get the quality of staff they pay for
    No, sorry, but that statement is rubbish. If your area of expertise is one that few colleges offer courses in, then you go where the jobs are and have to accept that the salary isn't as good as it could be. The college has you over a barrel no matter how well qualified, experienced or how good a teacher you are.
  15. Aye! Go where the funding is most at risk! Good advice!
    Pardon? FE is a valuable provider of L3 for many students who want begin the journey to independence - schools cram, FE teaches, imo!
    My my! Wanna play Education Top Trumps?? Betcha'll win, both academically and vocationally!! As will a great many of us FE bods. We are all subject specialists, which is more than can be said for the universally certified teacher - degree in lego, teaching maths!!!
    Sadly all too true!

  16. Toads - just noticed the misper!
    Ah well [​IMG]
  17. Dearie me - how hostile! People fail to mention the FE actually gets the poorly educated and often illiterate rejects from the state schooling system, where they have been taught by sub standard graduates with no life experience or empahy. If the 'qualified' school teachers can't teach literacy to kids in 13 years or more what hope has FE got in 2?It is just a way of keeping the poor *** off the dole statistics for a few more years

  18. This is true, in part at least. We haven't failed to mention it. But what you and previous posters fail to understand is that this is only one aspect of FE.
    I can assure you that my students are not rejects from from the school system. They would not be accepted onto the course if they were.
    My colleagues who do teach such students bring thier specialist skills and commitment to their work and succeed without necessarily relying on hope.
    Just like HE then.
    Ignorance of the diverse functions of FE, its students and teaching staff can have that effect.

  19. Absolutely. It is infuriating to be repeatedly met with such negative posts based on the writer's ignorance of the many and varied functions of FE!
    I'd explain that I get to teach bright sparks with a long list of A* in science subjects who choose FE so as to escape the stultifying atmosphere of their schools, good and bad - but I doubt I'd be believed.
    I'd explain that I teach a lot of students who, in 10 years of 'real' schooling have absolutely no idea how to organise themselves or (incredibly) cannot use an index effectively and object to having to read to discover the answer to a question - and, yes, this is the same group of A* students!
    Ah well.

  20. I'd explain that I teach a lot of students who, in 10 years of 'real' schooling have absolutely no idea how to organise themselves or (incredibly) cannot use an index effectively and object to having to read to discover the answer to a question -
    I laughed at that pobble, it all true, plus their idea of filing is to shove everything into their bags never to be read or indeed seen again. I regularly take files away from students to reorganise them because they just do not know how to do it.
    Still, we persevere and sometimes even manage to give them enough confidence and skills to be able to progress to the next level.


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