Engineers are still on the UK skills shortage list, highlighting an important reason why this could be the perfect time to become a further education (FE) engineering teacher.
So secure a college lecturer job in engineering, having a solid foundation in a relevant area of expertise will be enough to begin your FE journey – you may be able to start training on the job without any formal teaching qualifications.
The Institution of Engineering and Technology’s 2019 report into industry skills revealed that more than half of engineering and technology firms in the UK believe there is an engineer shortage that is threatening their business. The introduction of T-levels could be the answer.
Gillian Keegan, Minister for Skills and Apprenticeships, announced a new support package to help employers and FE providers deliver high-quality industry placements. T-levels, which are the equivalent to three A-levels, have been created following collaboration with industry experts. They aim to enable students to build knowledge and skills, as well as develop the confidence to enter a workplace environment.
Now is the time to take advantage of workplace experience to pass on your skills to the next generation of toolmakers, mechanical engineers and civil engineers. There can be few better things than the pride that comes with enabling young people to build invaluable skills and giving them the best possible start in their future career.
Ellie Bennett was an architectural designer before she decided to become a Civil Engineering Lecturer at Stephenson College in Leicestershire. She made the career change as she believes strongly in knowledge sharing. This is not just one way, she argues: “as much as I teach my learners, they teach me too”. She keeps one toe in industry, working part-time as an architectural designer, which helps her keep on top of the latest developments in the sector. This may be a viable option for others wanting to experience both roles.
Stuart Steele, the mechanical engineering lecturer at Wakefield College, took his role after more than 30 years in the auto sector and eight years as a consultant. He acknowledged that he had built up considerable transferable skills and ensured that he kept up to date with the advances in the field, in order to stay in touch with his students.
Steele’s main duties include the teaching of computer-aid design (CAD), manufacturing and numerical control programming. He also covers mechanical principles, mechanical science, safety, communications and projects. Of his 22 hours’-worth of teaching per week, he explains that 60% is IT-related so gaining familiarity with the IT systems used in teaching is crucial.
In terms of the qualifications needed for the FE engineering teacher role, Steele states that “if you have a teaching qualification, it makes life much easier”. FE teachers are able to work towards a PGCE while teaching so it is not the end of the world if you do not have this qualification.
A qualified FE teacher can expect to earn anything between £24,702 and £37,258, depending on experience level. An unqualified FE teacher is less with salaries ranging from £19,758 to £23,325.
Specifically, the lecturer in engineering role at Abingdon & Witney College pays between £27,051 and £36,651, underlining the range of salaries available.
London weighting may vary across colleges and may have been incorporated into the basic salary. The recommended London weighting for further education employees is £2,725 for inner, £1,790 for outer and £704 for fringe.