Further Education Lecturer

The Job and What's Involved

Further education (FE) lecturers teach in FE colleges, tertiary colleges or sixth form colleges. They work mainly with post 16-year olds and/or adults. They may also teach 14 and 15-year olds who are based in school but attending taster courses or studying vocational subjects in the college.

The courses FE lecturers teach may lead to general or vocational qualifications and may be in preparation for a job, higher education or life in general. Examples include:

  • GCSE's, AS and A levels/H grades, GNVQs, and national and higher national certificates/diplomas.
  • Vocational courses such as certificates, diplomas and NVQ's/SVQ's that train people in a range of subjects such as catering, motor mechanics, childcare, bricklaying, hairdressing and agriculture.
  • Access courses, for people who want to enter higher education but who do not have the usual entry qualifications.
  • Entry level courses (access level in Scotland) for those with no formal qualifications.
  • English for speakers of other languages (ESOL).
  • Interest and leisure courses in subjects such as yoga, photography or DIY.

An FE lecturer may be involved with:

  • Planning and preparing lessons.
  • Lecturing to large groups of people who may be from a range of different backgrounds, abilities and ages.
  • Holding tutorials or seminars (informal discussions with one student or a small group).
  • Setting and marking assignments, tests and exams.
  • Acting as a personal tutor dealing with a wide range of problems that the learner may have.
  • Liaising with awarding bodies.
  • Interviewing potential students.
  • Developing new courses.
  • Carrying out administrative tasks.

Typical working hours for a full-time lecturer are 37 a week, and of these about 22 hours are spent teaching. Additional hours may be needed for attending meetings and marking work. In some jobs evening work may be required.

Many lecturers work part time, sometimes in the evenings or at weekends.

Lecturers are normally based in a college and work in classrooms, laboratories and workshops depending on the subject taught. With some subjects the work may also involve teaching on the premises of employers and in community-based learning centres.

Some lecturers may spend time away from college to visit employers, assess students in the workplace or to go on field trips.

The basic starting salary varies from college to college and may range from around £18,000 to £23,000 a year.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

There are around 479 colleges in the UK and 200,000 full-time and part-time lecturers. Jobs are widely available and opportunities exist in many towns and cities throughout the UK. Lecturers may also work in prisons and with training organisations.

Competition for posts varies according to the subject area and the part of the country. There are likely to be more vacancies in construction, engineering and IT as recruitment for these tends to be more difficult. Temporary contracts and part-time work are common and are a good way of getting in. Jobs are advertised in The Times Educational Supplement, The Guardian and the local and regional press.

Education and Training

New entrants usually have a degree or relevant professional qualification and employment experience. Some may also have a teaching qualification.

Entry qualifications for a degree are usually at least two A levels/three H grades and five GCSE's/S grades (A-C/1-3) or equivalent qualifications.

New entrants to FE lecturing in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are required to hold a recognised FE teaching qualification, or be working towards one within two to four years of starting work. This is known as Qualified Teacher in Further Education (QTFE) status. This is distinct from Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) required for school teaching. Those with QTS are able to work in FE but those with the QTFE cannot work as qualified teachers in schools.

It is possible to gain QTFE after a degree by taking a:

Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) specialising in FE/post-compulsory education or a University Certificate of Education (Cert Ed).

Some entrants, particularly those teaching more vocational subjects or considering teaching adults, study part time for the Teaching Certificate in Further Education (City & Guilds 7407). Full completion of this is equivalent to the PGCE or Cert Ed and leads to QTFE. GCSEs (A-C) in English and maths may be required for entry.

FE lecturers employed to teach basic or essential skills are required, in addition, to hold or work towards a specialist Skills for Life teaching qualification in literacy, numeracy or ESOL (English for speakers of other languages).

There are some differences in Scotland to the rest of the UK. College lecturers are usually recruited on the basis of their academic and/or vocational skills and knowledge. When they take up appointment, they are then encouraged to study part-time for a Teaching Qualification in Further Education (TQ(FE)) which is available through three approved universities (Aberdeen, Dundee and Stirling). At the moment lecturers are encouraged to study for a TQ(FE) but are not required to do so. An ongoing review is considering whether newly-appointed lecturers should be required to gain a TQ(FE) within a set period of taking up post.

The University of Stirling also offers a pre-service version of the TQ(FE). This is for people who already have a subject qualification, such as a degree, and are hoping to find a post as a college lecturer.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

Postgraduate Certificate in Education and university Certificate of Education courses usually take one year full time to complete.

The Teaching Certificate in Further Education is in three stages and is studied part time while working. Stages one and two take one year to complete; stage three takes a further year and leads to QTFE.

Many further education colleges also support their existing unqualified lecturing staff to gain TQFE.

Many Scottish colleges offer professional development awards in teaching in further education to new staff to develop basic teaching skills before they go on to do a full TQ(FE).

For those who are fully qualified there is in-service training available. Continuing Professional Development may be required depending on their subject specialism.

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

An FE lecturer should:

  • Have a knowledge of and enthusiasm for their subject.
  • Be able to get on well with students of different ages, abilities and backgrounds.
  • Have confidence to teach groups of people.
  • Have good verbal and written communication skills.
  • Have the ability to motivate others.
  • Have patience and a sense of humour.

Your Long Term Prospects

It is possible to take on non-teaching responsibilities such as pastoral roles, marketing or working as an admissions tutor. With increased responsibility it may be possible to move on to be deputy head or head of department.

Some lecturers move out of teaching and into college management such as in finance, quality standards, human resources and guidance. These posts may require additional studying for relevant professional qualifications.

Get Further Information

The Association of Colleges, 5th Floor, Centre Point,
103 New Oxford Street, London WC1A 1RG
Tel: 020 7827 4600
Website: www.aoc.co.uk

Association of Scotland's Colleges, Argyll Court,
The Castle Business Park, Stirling FK9 4TY
Tel: 01786 892100
Website: www.ascol.org.uk

Department for Education and Skills (DfES),
Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street,
London SW1P 3BT
Tel; 0870 000 2288.
Website: www.dfes.gov.uk

Further Education Lecturers' Association,
The Educational Institute of Scotland,
46 Moray Place, Edinburgh EH3 6BH
Tel: 0131 225 6244
Website: www.eis.org.uk

Professional Development Forum,
Further and Adult Education Division,
The Scottish Executive, 2nd Floor, Europa Building,
450 Argyle Street, Glasgow G2 8LG
Tel: 0141 242 0249
Website: www.fepdfscotland.co.uk

University and College Union (UCU),
27 Britannia Street, London WC1X 9JP
Tel: 020 7837 3636
Website: www.ucu.org.uk

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