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How to find rewarding work in FE

You spend almost 100,000 hours of your lives at work, so it’s important to make sure that the work you’re doing is rewarding, and that you enjoy it. Working in further education (FE) can be a way to have a fulfilling and rewarding career, for a few different reasons. From job progression to teaching what you love, FE jobs can open new doors for you in your career, and offer you a rewarding work life.

Teaching what you love can be hugely rewarding

Sector specialists AoC Jobs note that FE covers a wide range of industries, as well as a wide range of roles within each department. So you could become a teacher of a specific industry you have experience or interest in, or area of working expertise like management, admin or STEM assistant.

Most FE teachers have worked as professionals in their careers for a number of years before taking on the role as a teacher in FE, or they have a qualification in the area they want to teach in. Being able to teach what you know and are passionate about can be incredibly rewarding, especially when you realise you are changing your students’ lives.

Teachers are actively giving back to the next generation, which can be a hugely rewarding experience. You may often find yourself being motivated and encouraged by your students, and no two days are the same, offering new challenges every day. You could even gain a qualification to teach the class, which will add to your skills.

Working in FE offers career pivots in unexpected ways

Many FE teachers are already experts in their field. If you’re looking for progression in your career, but you’re at the top of your field, you could find it difficult to find a motivated and challenging role for you. However, moving into teaching allows you to learn new skills, while also reapplying your knowledge in a different role. However, moving into FE doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be teaching students — you could be working in leadership and management, or even as a classroom assistant.

For example, if you’re already an office manager, you could run the course at an FE college, and work with the curriculum to ensure that students are getting the best knowledge, and learning skills they can use on the job. Moving from a managerial role in your industry to a teaching position can even alleviate some of the pressures you faced in your job. The new role can even work to refresh your mind by offering you new challenges.

Those that work in STEM should consider moving into teaching, as there is a lack of skills in the industry. The government recently pledged to include £250 million in funding for skills by 2020 to boost productivity in FE, including providing courses for the STEM industry to lower the skills gap. It has also promised to create 3 million apprenticeships by 2020, for young learners. Experts in STEM can turn to FE to teach the skills that are desperately needed, and encourage students to take on jobs and apprenticeships, which can only help your industry.

FE teaching gives you the opportunity to work on your skills

A new job can allow you enhance your skillset, and working in FE gives you the chance to build and develop your skills as a teacher. If you’re teaching a vocation, you can continue practicing your skills as you teach, as you’ll be using them on a daily basis in the classroom. You may even be able to see your skills improving and developing as you teach your students, or even work on lessons plans, which can be hugely rewarding as you give back.

Teaching also offers a range of new skills you can learn and develop, which you can then transfer into your industry job, if you ever moved back from FE teaching. For example, taking on a class of students can help you improve your leadership skills, which you can then transfer to your job.