Education - working as an FE teacher

The government is calling on people with real-world experience to consider a career as a further education (FE) teacher. Its Teaching in Further Education campaign highlights the importance of sharing skills and the benefits this profession offers – from classroom teaching to workplace apprenticeships.

Flexible option

New research has found that over three quarters (77%) of working parents remain passionate about their industry, but in a bid to establish more flexibility in their working lives, nearly 9 in 10 (88%) would be interested in more part-time or flexible opportunities.

The research, commissioned by the Department for Education’s Teach in Further Education campaign, reveals the top three factors working parents consider when looking for a job. Work-life balance came out on top (70%), while flexible working hours (43%) and a job where they can use their existing skills (26%) also ranked highly.

Teaching in further education could be the perfect career pivot for working parents interested in exploring roles connected to their field that offer the potential for part-time and flexible opportunities.

The research findings revealed that working parents remain committed to their sector and are enthusiastic about protecting its future, with 80% saying they would be interested in a role that helps drive new talent into their industry.

Part time or flexible contracts are available, with 40% of FE college teachers on part-time contracts, making it a valid option for working parents searching for new opportunities to use their existing industry skills while seeking added flexibility.

Working in education allows you to share your enthusiasm for the industry

Suitable candidates

Although potential FE teaching candidates are not always required to have a teaching qualification or an academic degree to start teaching, they will be expected to have a certain level of qualifications within their field.

“Candidates will need a formal plumbing qualification,” says Mike Maskrey, training manager at the CIPHE. “Installers can’t train above their qualification. For example, a level three plumber can only teach up to level three. However, FE facilities may allow them to carry out other qualifications, such as a Certificate of Education, Assessor and Internal Verifier qualification, while teaching.”

Anyone interested in sharing their knowledge and skills with the next generation of installers, can simply contact their local colleges or browse for jobs online. Many colleges offer a support programme while you transition from industry to a role in the public sector.

“You can expect to study the methods of teaching, learning, and assessing during the first few years and become a qualified teacher and assessor, or much more,” says Jerry Whiteley, technical manager at the CIPHE. “Working in a college, in a public sector role, is a world away from industry, more so if you are currently self-employed. You will learn about the curriculum and how to check it is understood, while your industry experience embeds the working principles.

“You will also need to get to grips with the bigger picture of education, the systems and processes. This is done through good teamwork in the department and collaboration across the many others. Good computer skills are essential, but most of these come via team support and daily use of college systems.

“Passion and enthusiasm are key attributes towards a confident delivery of high-quality learning. Your teaching can change lives and your role is to support opportunities for all. Age ranges of learners you might be working with can vary and all carry big responsibilities for their development of life skills, as well as learning plumbing and heating.”

Job satisfaction

Passing on your knowledge and experience to future talent can be hugely rewarding and give you the opportunity to shape the future of your industry’s workforce.

“It’s imperative that experienced plumbing and heating engineers consider a career in teaching in further education,” says Maskrey. “Colleges need people with practical experience and skills to teach this important subject and it is a great way to give back to the industry.”

According to Whiteley, a career in teaching is a sustainable one for professional people. It comes with hard work and sometimes long hours. Going the extra mile is something done naturally and not with contingencies.

“An academic year has plenty of interim holiday periods to recharge the batteries or catch up,” points out Whiteley. “A good pension scheme and other benefits are also good points. Comparing roles from a person in industry to a teacher, both are hard work, but these points below might help you decide.”

  • Weekends are free from call-outs
  • More holidays are available than many other occupations
  • Opportunity to do plumbing and heating as a sideline and earn extra income – many educators do this to keep their hand in and stay up to date
  • Fresh start, new motivation, settled income
  • No chasing your money or carrying bad debts
  • Working in a more comfortable environment
  • Healthier and safer workplace
  • Good progression and potential for higher salary
  • You know where you are going each day, so there is less travelling and expense
  • Improve family life with a regular income and time

To find out more about how you could share your skills by teaching in further education and the next steps to take, visit

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