Refine Your Search
Refine Your Search

How Your Industry Experience Can Shape a Career in FE

13 September 2023 Candidate Blogs / Career Advice

As colleges head back this September for a new term, further education (FE) teaching jobs go unfilled. This is due to different reasons. For one, vocational education is becoming more important in the UK. The demand for skills-based knowledge, technical skills, and employability skills among employers has increased. More and more young people are also seeing the benefits of studying subjects such as technology and the career opportunities it opens nowadays.

There is a skills shortage for FE jobs in the UK, and this is coupled with the fact that many skilled trades and professions believe that specialist teaching qualifications and degrees in education are needed to teach at college.

Further education jobs in London and beyond do not always need teaching experience or certain academic qualifications. Courses such as bricklaying, engineering, mechanics, hairdressing, and plumbing need experienced, skilled workers to teach the next generation.

If you’re an industry professional or working in the trades, you may not have even considered FE teaching as a viable option for your next career move. These days, we talk about ‘portfolio careers’, and changing jobs is no longer a red flag; rather, it is an accepted norm in the wider employment market. So, if you have had enough of working in industry, now could be a great time to enter the FE sector.

On-the-job learning
Jobs in FE colleges now focus on how valuable years of hands-on experience are as opposed to holding set qualifications. Some further education teaching jobs have on-the-job training, and some further education teaching jobs come with funding to obtain teaching qualifications.

Now is a great time to embark on a FE career
The government has plans to bring 4,000 teachers into the FE sector by 2025. Moreover, they have also launched a £5 million scheme called the Taking Teaching Further programme, which will pay for up to 150 professionals from sectors such as engineering and computing to retrain as further education teachers.

In the UK today, the skills shortage is impacting FE colleges. There is a particular shortage of teachers in STEM subjects (science, technology, English, and Maths), as well as construction and engineering. The demand for talented people to work in further education has never been greater.

Besides industry-experienced teaching staff, vacancies for assessors for vocational subjects such as plumbing, electrical installation, bricklaying, and hairdressing continue to rise.

Jobs in further education make for a stable career move. With redundancies often taking place in the private sector, this is a real selling point in the post-COVID-19 world. If you’re tempted to move into further education the risk you are taking, is a safe one.

Your years in industry count, significantly
When you work in further education, you will still get to practise the trade you trained in and are passionate about. With an FE career, you will be safe in the knowledge that you are influencing and shaping the next generation of industry experts. Young people like you.

There are lots of rewards to teaching in FE including opportunities for creativity and innovation. It’s not uncommon to encounter students in further education who may have struggled within a school environment and will respond to a more innovative and individualised approach. Those who work in FE and come from an industry background tend to approach teaching with enthusiasm. This positive attitude assists students in applying their skills to real-life scenarios.

Finding FE jobs in the UK
According to data from the AoC, there are 277 colleges in the UK, including 232 colleges in England and 45 sixth-form colleges. FE vacancies can be found in:

  • Further Education colleges
  • Sixth-form colleges
  • Private educational providers

A reputable teaching agency, such as Morgan Hunt’s education recruitment division, can help you find these vacancies. Morgan Hunt has been a market leader in placing people in further education jobs in London since 2004.

Further education jobs are varied and FE job titles include:

  • Lecturer
  • Teacher
  • Trainer
  • Tutor
  • Technician
  •  Learning support assistant
  •  Student with Learning Difficulties and/or Disabilities (SLDD) assistant
  •  Business support and operational roles

The joys of working in FE
An FE career is rewarding as you are playing a vital role in the education of young people looking to enhance their skills and knowledge.

One of the most attractive prospects about working in further education jobs is the chance for flexible work that isn’t available in other career paths. Many workers are disillusioned with the daily ‘9 to 5‘, limited holiday, and weekend work required by those working in industry sectors such as hairdressing or mechanics.

Benefits of moving into FE from industry

  • Flexibility: Teaching in further education is flexible. You can teach full-time, part-time, or even on an ad-hoc basis.
  • Learning and development (L&D): You may have the opportunity to work towards teaching qualifications or participate in specialist training
  • Supplement your retirement: If you’re taking early retirement or looking to semi-retire, working part-time as a teacher, assistant, or assessor can supplement your income and help with the cost-of-living crisis.
  • Salaries: Wages for all roles within the FE sector are competitive.
  • Benefits: Further education teaching jobs often offer attractive benefits, including good pension schemes, generous annual leave, and a good work-life balance.
  • Diversity and inclusion (D&I): FE colleges are hubs of diversity, bringing together staff and students from different backgrounds, ages, and cultures.

If you’re working in industry, you might not be aware of the generous annual leave entitlement that comes with FE. Although this is dependent on the type of role, most full-time FE jobs are entitled to around 38 days of holiday per year, plus bank holidays. This is higher than the standard 20 to 25-day allowance.

Morgan Hunt specialises in placing experienced individuals like yourself in a range of further FE jobs in London and the UK, from lecturing positions to support roles. If you're looking for jobs in further education, search for our FE vacancies here. With colleges having started back this September, now is the time to apply!


Latest News & Views