West Thames College London

Why Teach? FAQ

Why work in a college?

College staff report a high level of job satisfaction. Many stay in the sector for years, enjoying successful and rewarding careers.

There are many other benefits too:

  • Free staff training and continuing professional development
  • The opportunity to gain recognised qualifications while in paid work
  • Financial help for key workers to buy or rent a property – visit www.gov.uk and search for ‘key worker living’ for more information
  • Generous annual leave allowances
  • Competitive pension schemes
  • Social and professional networking opportunities

What kind of people work in colleges?

Staff in colleges come from a range of professional, cultural, social and educational backgrounds. The training and support offered to staff enables them to progress within the college sector.

How could I use my business or industry experience at a college?

Your experience could be relevant in a teaching or non-teaching role. You do not always need to have experience in education, or a teaching qualification, to work at a college. Many teaching staff are employed on the basis of their professional experience and qualifications, then train to become a qualified teacher as they work. Other people make a successful career in non-teaching roles including working behind the scenes, working with students in support and advice roles, and in management positions.

What training and support is available?

Colleges are dedicated to giving the highest level of support and training to staff as well as students. For teaching staff you can learn while you work. For non-teaching staff, training courses are offered in a variety of areas such as Management, IT, Administration, Human Resources and Counselling. In addition to formal training, personal and practical support is made readily available.

Can I work part-time to fit my work around other commitments?

Many staff combine jobs at college with other commitments – for example a hairdressing lecturer may continue to work in a salon, or a drama lecturer as an actor. There may also be flexible opportunities if you are a parent or carer or have other responsibilities.

How could I develop my career?

Because there are so many opportunities to gain experience and qualifications, there is plenty of room to progress your career within a college and between colleges. Many staff start off working in support roles then train to become a teacher. In non-teaching roles there are also many opportunities to move into more senior positions, or work in a different field.

How do I apply to work at a college and find out about job vacancies?

  • Visit the college’s website or phone its Human Resources department
  • For teaching vacancies see also the FE [A further education course at Entry level, Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3. Includes pre-university and vocational qualifications.] Focus section in the Times Educational Supplement (TES) newspaper and websites including fejobs.com, teachfe.com, reed.co.uk and educationjobs.com
  • For non-teaching vacancies check local papers
  • For specialist vacancies in areas such as Marketing, Human Resources and Finance, see the public sector sections of newspapers such as the Guardian, Metro or Evening Standard, and trade publications such as Marketing Week.

How can I become a teacher?

If you want to teach a vocational subject, such as graphic design, construction, hairdressing, etc…
You would need a Level 3 vocational qualification in your specialist subject (i.e. BTEC National Diploma, NVQ Level 3 or equivalent), plus recent industrial experience. You could apply for permanent or hourly paid work at a college and start teaching which, together with support and training, will lead to a recognised teaching qualification.

If you do not already have GCSE Maths and English grade A*-C or equivalent, your college should be able to support you to achieve these qualifications while you are teaching.

If you want to teach an academic subject, such as Biology, Sociology, French, etc…
You would need a degree in your specialist subject. You could apply for permanent or hourly paid work at a college and start teaching, with support and training, leading to a recognised teaching qualification.
If you do not already have GCSE Maths and English A*-C or equivalent, your college should be able to support you to achieve these qualifications while you are teaching.

If you want to teach ESOL [English for speakers of other languages] (English for speakers of other languages)…
You need to be educated to Level 3 (A Levels, Access, BTEC National Diploma or equivalent) or above. Ideally you would have a degree, plus GCSE Maths and English A*-C. You would first train full or part-time, with teaching practice. You could then get a full or part-time teaching post with training leading to a Level 5 teaching qualification in ESOL [English for speakers of other languages].

If you want to teach Literacy or Numeracy…
You would need to have Maths or English at Level 3 (A Level or equivalent), though ideally you would have a degree in English or Maths. You could then get a full or part-time teaching post with training leading to a Level 5 teaching qualification in your subject.

What if I have overseas qualifications?
Most of the above would apply to you. However, you will need to check your overseas qualification to find its equivalent value in the UK – visit ecctis.co.uk/naric/

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