College staff report a high level of job satisfaction. Many stay in the sector for years, enjoying successful and rewarding careers.
There are many other benefits too:
Staff in teaching and non-teaching roles in colleges come from a huge range of professional, cultural, social and educational backgrounds. The training and support on offer to staff enables them to progress upwards or in different directions within the college sector.
Your experience could be relevant in a teaching or non-teaching role. You do not always need to have experience in education, or a teaching qualification, to work at a college. Many teaching staff are employed on the basis of their professional experience and qualifications, then train to become a qualified teacher as they work. Other people make a successful career in non-teaching roles including working behind the scenes, working with students in support and advice roles, and in management positions.
Colleges are dedicated to giving the highest level of support and training to staff as well as students, and have excellent resources to do so. For teaching staff you can learn while you work. For non-teaching staff, training courses are offered in a variety of specialist areas such as Management, IT, Administration, Human Resources and Counselling. In addition to formal training courses, personal and practical support is made readily available.
Many staff combine their jobs at college with other commitments – for example a hairdressing lecturer may continue to work in a salon, or a drama lecturer as an actor. There may also be flexible opportunities if you are a parent or carer, or have other responsibilities.
Because there are so many opportunities to gain experience and qualifications in the further education [A course at Entry level, Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3. Includes pre-university and vocational qualifications, full-time and part-time for all ages.] sector, there is plenty of room to progress your career within a college and between colleges. For example, many teachers start off working in support roles, then train to become a teacher. In non-teaching roles there are also many opportunities to move into more senior positions, or work in a different field.
Many FE [A further education course at Entry level, Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3. Includes pre-university and vocational qualifications.] teachers start working at a college on an hourly basis, and are either employed directly by the college or through an agency, such as Protocol National. The college Personnel/HR team will provide guidance on this.
If you want to teach a vocational subject, such as graphic design, construction, hairdressing, etc…
You would need a Level 3 vocational qualification in your specialist subject (i.e. BTEC National Diploma, NVQ Level 3 or equivalent), plus recent industrial experience. You could apply for permanent or hourly paid work at a college and start teaching which, together with support and training, will lead to a recognised teaching qualification.
If you do not already have GCSE Maths and English grade A*-C or equivalent, your college should be able to support you to achieve these qualifications while you are teaching.
If you want to teach an academic subject, such as Biology, Sociology, French, etc…
You would need a degree in your specialist subject. You could apply for permanent or hourly paid work at a college and start teaching, with support and training, leading to a recognised teaching qualification.
If you do not already have GCSE Maths and English A*-C or equivalent, your college should be able to support you to achieve these qualifications while you are teaching.
If you want to teach ESOL [English for speakers of other languages] (English for speakers of other languages)…
You need to be educated to Level 3 (A Levels, Access, BTEC National Diploma or equivalent) or above. Ideally you would have a degree, plus GCSE Maths and English A*-C. You would first train full or part-time, with teaching practice. You could then get a full or part-time teaching post with training leading to a Level 5 teaching qualification in ESOL [English for speakers of other languages].
If you want to teach Literacy or Numeracy…
You would need to have Maths or English at Level 3 (A Level or equivalent), though ideally you would have a degree in English or Maths. You could then get a full or part-time teaching post with training leading to a Level 5 teaching qualification in your subject.
What if I have overseas qualifications?
Most of the above would apply to you. However, you will need to check your overseas qualification to find its equivalent value in the UK – visit www.naric.org.uk.
You should also contact IfL at www.ifl.ac.uk for information on how to get QTLS (Qualified Teaching, Learning and Skills) status.
"It’s a wonderful feeling when you help a carer to develop professionally. I’ve helped to train carers who have since gone on to become full-time [Full-time courses consist of 12-16 hours study per week. International students on full-time courses must study a minimum of 15 hours per week.] nurses, social workers and even midwives. I can honestly say that I love my job."