Beating the UK Skills Gap: The Further Forces Programme

Further Forces

The stats are clear. The shortfall of people with the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) skills required by the growing STEM-skills economy currently stands at 40,000 and UK employers are struggling to fill 43 per cent of STEM vacancies. More students need to be inspired across science, engineering and technology (SET). And one way to inspire students is to bring real-world experience into teaching.

Sir John Holman, Senior Advisor to the Gatsby Foundation and author of the Gatsby Good Career Guidance Report, said: “With a growing need for people with STEM skills in the UK workforce, it is particularly important that young people are made aware of the opportunities available through studying STEM subjects… Teachers who can link classroom learning to the world of work, and introduce jobs and routes that students might not have thought about, can raise aspirations and inspire students to fulfil their potential. This is one of the Good Career Guidance benchmarks at the heart of the Government’s Careers Strategy.”

The Further Forces programme looks to bring invaluable real-world SET into post-16 learning. Personnel leaving the Armed Forces have both real-world work experience and a high-level of employability skills – team work, communications, project management – that they can now bring into the FE & Skills sector with the support of on-the-job teacher training.

Backed by the Education and Training Foundation, Ministry of Defence, Department for Education and the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, the Further Forces programme supports those leaving the Armed Forces to become FE trainers / teachers. Through the Programme, ex-Armed Forces people are connected with FE providers looking to fill SET vacancies. Once a match has been made with an FE provider, the recruit is enrolled on a teacher training programme. So they can train while they teach.

To ensure a smooth transition from the Forces to the FE sector, AoC will lead the Further Forces Northern Hub to provide extensive support to all the recruits. From the first moment they connect with the Programme, recruits are supported by their Hub and also by a mentoring scheme, run through the University of Brighton. These mentors are FE practitioners, but they sit outside of both the training Hub and the FE provider, so the recruit has impartial, knowledgeable and personal support.

“I served as a Combat Medical Technician in the Army. The skills and knowledge gained in this role, coupled with my degree in sports science meant that I was well placed to embark upon a career in Further Education teaching and training”. Hannah Payne, Further Forces Programme recruit

FE Providers: If you have SET vacancies you are looking to fill, connect with the Further Forces Programme and you will be sent details of all the recruits looking for a position in the FE sector.

FE Lecturers: There are vacancies within the Programme for mentors. If you are a teacher/ trainer in a SET subject, you could earn extra as a mentor. Work with a new recruit, both online and in person to support their development as an FE teacher.

Service Leavers: Take a look at SET teaching jobs currently available for you and get in touch to enrol on the programme.

For more information, visit the website.

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