Whilst automation isn’t necessarily synonymous with job losses, these news stories may have got you thinking about how your current skill set could help you to find employment outside of your current job. Years of experience in a specific sector may actually be the perfect launch pad into a career in Further Education.
Unlike secondary schools and sixth form colleges, FE is divided into a huge range of specialist subject areas. Therefore, if you developed a specific skill set within a particular industry, this may come under the array of subjects taught at any given college.
So, for example, if you were a colour technician in a hair salon you would have many transferrable skills that could be utilised in a teaching role. There would be a wide range of hair and beauty jobs that you could spark a career change with using your current skill set, such as a specialist assessor or instructor for that section of a broader hairdressing qualification.
You might have experience in any number of vocational positions, from a counsellor to a plumber, or an electrician, and any expertise you have in order to have been qualified can be utilised to teach to these skills others.
Not only will you have transferable skills from your current career, but you will also have a first-hand experience of working in those environments. Practical understanding of workshop health and safety and managing those requirements can be hugely beneficial when educating students in vocational fields.
This encompasses strict health and safety rules to ensure the wellbeing of young students and various regulations, from how you can discipline your students to the standards of teaching.
Whether you have worked as a carpenter, mechanic or as a hairdresser, you will have this particular knowledge. This can benefit you as a classroom assistant or technician, as well as a teacher.
Learning in FE is based in replicated environments, often following or including hands-on experience. A working knowledge of shops, studios and garages, will make the transition into a practical classroom environment easy. You may even be able to make improvements and quickly identify where more up to date changes have been made in the workplace, benefitting FE students as they progress and learn.
Working in a project based job will give you the experience of effective planning. Planning is a key component of being an FE teacher, as you would have to research and develop new topics to teach, as well as plan what teaching materials you will use in lessons. You would also contribute to course team meetings to monitor and evaluate the course.
So, if you’re a builder, for example, the know-how you have of working with plans that meet building code regulations and client specifications will stand you in good stead. You will already have the right kind of knowledge to take responsibility for an entire class and plan what you will teach them. In FE, this can be applied to working as a Course Leader or Head of Department.
The same applies to numerous other careers, like if you’re in mechanical engineering. The nous you have in developing project specifications or developing, testing and evaluating theoretical designs, will make a career change into FE teaching seamless.
Chances are you have spent a significant amount of time dealing with members of the public in your current career. Communication is a vital aspect of being a teacher in FE, as you must have excellent communications when teaching and talking to your students, as well as being able to offer sufficient pastoral support.
Therefore, roles that emphasise communication will provide you with one of the most crucial skills in FE teaching. So if you’re in Health or Social care, your ability to be able to effectively communicate to and support your patients already give you easily transferable skills for a career change to being an FE teacher in that area.
In addition, an ability to take specialist knowledge and repackage it into an easy to understand way will stand you in good stead for introducing new skills to your class. Jobs like auto mechanics require you to be able to advise customers on good vehicle use, therefore utilising your specialist knowledge to help others. Why not do this as an FE teacher?