The role of Further Education lecturer (FE) can be very varied. The job entails teaching mostly post-16 and adult learners. There is also some opportunity to work with younger students studying vocational qualifications.
In FE, there is the chance to teach at all levels, from entry to professional qualifications and foundation degrees. There are three very broad areas of teaching,
- Vocational training
- Teachers in this area are experienced professionals who want to help train others. You will need substantial experience in your field and be willing to gain a teaching qualification.
- Academic teaching
- You will be expected to have a good academic background and will teach courses up to A level.
- Basic Skills
- This area involves teaching basic maths and literacy skills.
PERSONAL QUALITIES AND SKILLS
- Great communication skills
- Enthusiasm for your subject
- Ability to inspire and motivate pupils
- Good people skills to enable you to work with people at different levels in the institution
- Time management and organisational skills
- Ability to listen to feedback and act upon it
- Confidence to speak in front of students and colleagues
- Ability to work in a team
- A good sense of humour
There are a range of options for getting into Further Education teaching. It is not necessary to have a teaching qualification as the sector is not regulated, but gaining one will improve your chances of getting a job.
There are three levels of qualification. You can work your way up through them or go straight to level 5.
- Level 3 Award in Education and Training. This is designed as an introduction and is suitable for people who are considering a teaching role or have started one. You would be expected to have an A level/Btec or equivalent in the subject you wish to teach and be able to demonstrate a good command of English, Maths and IT. It can be taken at an FE college or online. The course costs around £500.
- Level 4 Certificate in Education and Training. This is an “in-service” qualification and is designed for people who are already teaching. You need a level 3 award or your employer should be satisfied you are working at the appropriate level. You will be observed teaching as part of the course. The cost of the course is around £1500, but your employer may support you.
- Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training. To take this course, you need to already have at least 100 hours of teaching practice. This is the full qualification, and qualifies you as an FE lecturer. You can take a specialist pathway at this point, focussing on literacy, ESOL, maths or SEN. The course fees are £1500 or more.
You can also study for a PGCE in post-compulsory education, if you have a degree in the subject you wish to teach. This is similar to the Level 5 qualification but has units at a higher level. A PGCE will include Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status which also enables you to teach in secondary schools. This qualification can also be gained if you have a level 5 qualification, through an assessment of your practice and skills.
Another option if you do not have a degree is to take the Cert Ed (Certificate in Education) which is equivalent to the Level 5 diploma. You do need at least a Level 3 qualification in the subject you wish to teach. You may alternatively be able to take this qualification if you have a lot of experience in the subject you wish to teach, especially if it is vocational.
DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES
- Planning and delivering lessons which appropriately challenge students.
- Marking and assessing work, giving feedback to students to enable them to progress and improve.
- Preparing learning resources, using technology as appropriate, to support students’ learning.
- Teaching a range of qualification types, delivered during the day, evening or weekends.
- Keeping records of attendance and progress.
- Preparing students for external exams and assessments.
- Working with students in one-to-one tutorials, small groups and large groups.
- Promoting their courses at open evenings and taster days.
- Reporting progress to students and parents.
- Knowing and following college policies.
- Supporting students in work experience and carrying out workplace assessments.
- Taking part in the recruitment and interview of new students.
- Liaising with colleagues and professionals from outside agencies.
SALARY RANGE AND BENEFITS
The salary range for an unqualified FE teacher starts to around £19,000 and goes up to £22,500. Qualified teachers start on £23,000 and can go up to £36,000. Salaries for management and leadership roles can be significantly higher.
Although these are the recommended rates for FE teachers, colleges are free to negotiate their own salary scales.
Many FE teachers are employed on an hourly rate (known as a sessional basis) and rates begin at £15, going up to £35 for experienced, qualified teachers. This hourly rate is based on the time you are teaching, so planning needs to be done outside of these hours.
You should have access to a pension.
These figures are an indication only.
HOURS OF WORK
Although the working week in term time is about 37 hours, FE lecturers work long hours, often taking work home to mark and prepare. Some roles will also involve evening and weekend working.
Most FE jobs include 37 days a year holiday plus bank holidays, to be taken outside of term time.
FINDING A JOB
Jobs are available in four main sectors in FE:
- Work Based Learning. This can involve training young people in vocational skills and also working as an assessor or quality assurer.
- Adult and Community Learning. This sector delivers a huge range of courses, including basic skills, foreign languages, arts and crafts and many more.
- Justice Sector. Many prisoners lack basic skills and there is an opportunity to deliver that and also vocational training in prisons. This work may be subcontracted to an FE college.
- FE colleges. These are the largest employer of FE staff. There are over 300 colleges in the UK delivering courses at all levels in many subjects.
Jobs may be advertised on College’s own websites, local job bulletins or local press. They are also advertised on http://www.jobs.ac.uk/ .
INSERVICE TRAINING AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Your institution will provide training in line with the staff development policy. You may also be supported to work towards a level 4, level 5 or PCGE by your instition.
As well as your teaching responsibilities, it is possible to take on further responsibilities, for example as an admissions tutor or head of department.
Not all jobs are advertised and it is worth contacting colleges directly.
Some lecturers choose to move into college management, and it is also possible to work in schools if you have QTLS status.
FIND OUT MORE
Contact your local college and arrange some work experience. You might also consider offering your services as an adult education tutor.