In 2015, there were almost 2 million adult learners in the UK. These students are dedicated and in need of support, perhaps much more than your average student. Adult learners are seeking to better themselves in order to create a new career path, to help gain employment and contribute in a way that allows them to be successful.
Working in adult learning is a varied field and an intense one, offering value to students, helping them find employment and benefit their communities, as well as their teachers. Here are three of the core areas in which you can make a difference through adult learning teaching.
Many adult learning jobs in FE take place in prisons. These independent living courses, both full and part-time, aim to assist those within the prison system to improve their skills, enabling them to gain jobs on release.
Offender learning is a vitally important area of adult learning, and one of the most rewarding. Curriculums and student education levels will vary widely and the positions involve a range of topics. Some offender lecturers will focus on teaching practical skills, but many will support learners with employability, functional skills, as well as thinking skills.
Health and social care is an important part of the offender education programmes, highlighting relationships, love, trust and other areas of mental health that can make a huge difference to these learners lives. For example, you may provide support linked with the male suicide prevention charity, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) which aims to curb the ‘single biggest killer of men aged 20-45 in the UK’.
The arts are a powerful tool in our mental health, as well as our cultural narrative. Further education jobs in adult learning aren’t limited to what might be seen as traditional skills like English, maths and sciences, but also the arts.
Not all students, across the education sector as a whole, will be academic learners. Many will be better suited to more artistic pursuits, with both practical and creative outlets. Positions for teachers and support workers are therefore equally as varied.
Visiting Teacher is a popular role in adult education, teaching subjects such as watercolour painting, clothes making, sculpture or woodcarving. These roles are especially well suited to artistic types who might hold other jobs, with set classes only taking up a few half days per week.
Teachers who are enabled to give creative outlets to adult learners will find the process and the outcomes equally positive, making the experience a beneficial one for someone looking to share their skills.
Unsurprisingly, adult learning has a clear focus on teaching practical skills. The basis for adult education is on imparting a skill to allow the student to gain employment and contribute to their community. This is why teachers in in-demand roles, such as barbers, electricians and plumbers, are widely sought.
The benefit for a teacher taking on this role is in being able to work closely with individuals who have a keen interest, watching them develop and seeing them attain goals that will improve their lives permanently.
If you have any interest in adult learning then you should start seeking our positions in FE adult learning now. You may find a job that is perfectly suited for you and that is urgently needed to help adult learners across the country.