A skills shortage in the construction industry has long been an issue in the UK. City & Guilds found that 1 in 20 construction firms believe their workforce don’t have the requisite skills for the job. But with challenges come opportunities.
The 2020 Budget announced by chancellor Rishi Sunak earmarked £2.5bn for a National Skills Fund to improve adult skills. Construction is a key improvement area for the government with £95m set aside for the rollout of T levels from autumn 2021 in a number of areas, including construction.
The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) predicts that 168,500 new jobs will be created in the construction industry in the UK between 2019 and 2023. With the CITB launching a new campaign to attract more young people to the industry, there has never been a better time to become a further education (FE) construction teacher.
A common route to FE construction teaching is the desire to pass on skills learned over the course of a career to the next generation. It is a “way of leaving a legacy”. The tradespeople of the future require someone to inspire, motivate and train them, which is where an FE construction teacher comes in.
In terms of the person specification, colleges will be looking for a motivated individual who can demonstrate enthusiasm for working with young people and has a passion for construction. Due to the skills shortage, some colleges will offer to support their staff to gain the qualifications they need while working.
Experience of working with 16-18-year olds will be desirable. You will need several years’ experience in the construction industry
The university route is a common one for those wishing to be an FE construction teacher. Options available include a Certificate in Education or a postgraduate diploma. This will be after securing GCSEs grade A* to C (or 9 to 4) in English and maths, as well as A-levels and a degree in a relevant subject.
Expect to be asked to demonstrate your knowledge of a range of construction-related topics, such as health and safety, manual handling, carpentry, masonry, painting and decorating. Although traditional disciplines like plumbing and joinery are still core skills, technological advances are changing the face of construction. It will pay to be up to date with such advances, such as 3D printers, apps and drones.
Higher FE teacher salaries come with experience. As a newly trained FE teacher, you can expect to earn in the region of £19,000 to £25,000. This rises to between around £25,000 and £30,000 for trained FE construction teachers and then up to £50,000 for senior FE teachers.
A lecturer in construction — trowel at Wakefield College pays between £24,759 and £26,250 per year for an unqualified individual and between £27,035 and £31,332 for qualified lecturers.