Please can you tell us a little bit about your current role in FE?
I’m a Course Leader and Advanced Practitioner for Bridgwater & Taunton College, managing the Level 3 Animal Management programmes across all campuses. This combined role allows me to practice my teaching across all the animal care courses in our department and provide CPD and training throughout the entirety of the college.
What are your key interests?
My main interest is progress; progress of learners, progress of staff and curriculum and progresses within the education sector. Within this I encompass my passion for animals, sharing this with learners, and building their passion too.
Do you have any other roles or responsibilities?
Within my role as a CL, I am also responsible for being a personal tutor, providing pastoral care for the learners in my area, evaluating/developing the course, planning trips and visits, communicating with parents and external bodies, and the creation of timetables.
As part of being an Advanced Practitioner, as well as providing cross-college CPD, I am also a Teaching, Learning & Assessment mentor. This role allows me to assist in the development of new and existing staff through the identification of strengths and areas of improvement for those staff. I also contribute to cross-college self-assessment by carrying out observations and audits in other departments.
How did you get into teaching? What prompted your decision to move into FE?
I originally completed a BTEC Level 3 in Animal Management, and after achieving my degree I decided to volunteer at my previous college in order to gain experience. From there, I was able to get a role as a full-time practical instructor and this is where I got the bug for teaching. After a couple of years, I was able to complete my teaching qualifications and was able to move into classroom teaching, where I realised I had found my calling and have never looked back!
What's the FE sector like?
FUN! Being in the FE sector means that you are in the middle of a whirlpool of industries, providing countless opportunities, and not just for the learners.
How does FE teaching differ from other roles/experiences you have had?
Complete polarity in experiences; the role is stressful and exhausting but the pleasure you get from seeing a learner realising that they can reach places they didn't think possible is unmatched by any other job satisfaction I have experienced previously. In FE, you are meeting learners at a challenging time in their lives, both pastorally and academically, and to be a part of that, where we launch them into their next steps, is a privilege.
How has working in FE helped your career?
It has given me opportunities I hadn’t thought of before; prior to getting into the industry, I didn't realise the passion I had for teaching. Whilst I have been able to develop my vocational attributes I have also progressed into the world of education which has meant I have a better understanding of the industry which has allowed me to be successful in my field.
What have you enjoyed most about your job in FE?
Watching the learners in my care progress and develop. I get the opportunity to push learners beyond their own expectations and progress, whether that is directly into the industry, higher education or apprenticeships. Sharing their successes and the enjoyment they get from learning is the best motivation you can get to move out of bed in the morning!
Have you got any advice for other academics/professionals interested in FE?
BETTER. NEVER. STOPS.
Take every opportunity you get, and you will be as successful as you choose to be.
What are the top three reasons you choose to work for your current institution?
- Fantastic facilities, which provides me with the best opportunity to maximise the potential of my learners, and the wider community also.
- Being an Outstanding institution provides me with the best opportunities to develop myself professionally.
- Bridgwater and Taunton College’s ethos with staff means that you have the freedom to develop your role with your own vision of what that is, meaning that staff aren’t micromanaged.
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