By the end of May, the Education and Training programme, Further Forces, had over 150 trainees engaged in teacher training on the path to becoming full-time technical teachers in Further Education and more than 200 ready to begin training in September. All of these trainees have left the Armed Forces in the last five years or are leaving in the coming months, so they bring with them a wide range of real-world skills to inspire Further Education students. The ETF’s National Head of Technical Education, Cerian Ayres, has been finding out how some of these exceptional individuals have been putting their skills and experience to use during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.
The Further Forces programme offers a fully funded, flexible route into teaching in FE. The teacher training is delivered largely online and recruits can choose to study for their Level 5 (CertEd), Level 6 (Professional Graduate Certificate) or Level 7 (Postgraduate Certificate) either part-time or full-time. This flexibility aims to support service leavers to transition smoothly from the Armed Forces to new careers in civilian life. Further Forces enables trainees to build up their experience of technical teaching in the FE Sector.
We are really proud of all our Further Forces trainees. After serving their country in the Forces, they are now bringing their technical expertise into Further Education to inspire the next generation. What is even more impressive is the sheer range of skills and service seen across the programme. As our recruits undertake our flexible teacher training, many of them are also working in FE, running their own businesses, or continuing to still serve our country. It is this passion that means Further Forces trainees not only offer technical expertise but can demonstrate invaluable life skills to their students.
In the current times where society is being shaped by Covid-19 measures, many Further Forces trainees are using the flexible approach to teacher training to work to support vulnerable groups and key services:
Jamie Lennon is a Further Forces trainee completing his PGCE in one year. While continuing his teacher training, Jamie was deployed to the specially built Nightingale Hospital in London, as he had previous expertise in virus control, and he has been training the nurses who were also deployed there.
Kayhlan Norgrove, a Further Forces trainee who also works as a teacher with the Prince’s Trust, has developed online content for the charity Inner Flame that supports NEET 16–25 year olds.
Amber Eckford, a Further Forces trainee who teaches at Havant & South Downs College, is home-schooling her daughter, leading online learning for her FE students and also continuing her role of unit welfare for her Army regiment: “I have been offering advice to soldiers and their families through newsletters, social media platforms as well as emails, phone conversations and Zoom meetings. I have also been participating in daily one-hour fitness sessions to maintain the fitness level required for my role within the Army.”
Chris McCosh, a Further Forces trainee who teachers at Duchy College, Cornwall and still serves: “Since the lockdown, I’ve been part of Military Aid to Civil Authorities (MACA), which has required me to work both at home and at my barracks. I’m currently supporting MACA tasks for the South West and planning training for overseas support.”
This blending of teacher training while building up teaching practice in FE and continuing a Service role, means that our Further Forces trainees bring the real-world into the classroom. Their adaptability, expertise and skill provide a great example of resilience for the next generation; a lesson that is important in these times.
National Head of Technical Education
Education and Training Foundation
The Education and Training Foundation Further Forces programme is funded by the Department for Education, and supported by the Ministry of Defence and Gatsby Charitable Foundation. It is for individuals leaving the Armed Forces (or those who have left in the last five years) who wish to transition into Further Education technical teaching roles in England, using their technical expertise, knowledge, and skills. We train all Service Leavers and match them with FE providers looking to fill technical teaching vacancies. There is no charge to the Service Leavers or FE providers.
To find out more visit www.furtherforces.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org.