Nick Harper is currently employed at Weymouth College as a Lecturer and Employer Engagement Consultant in Business and IT. Prior to commencing the programme Nick had served as an Officer in the Navy for over 27 years.
As an Officer in the Navy I specialised in telecommunications systems and information systems. This involved diagnosing communication hardware to ensure a stable connection to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) information network. The development of new technologies throughout my MoD career meant that I had developed the necessary skills and experience in cyber security and information systems to teach these principles to others. I have always had a drive to help others to learn and I soon realised that I had developed a passion to teach.
I heard about the Further Forces programme having carried out my own extensive research into different teacher training routes. At the beginning of the programme I completed a series of six workbooks designed to support my transition from the military into teaching. These workbooks gave me the necessary background information to ensure that Further Education teaching and lecturing was right for me and provided useful advice and guidance for developing my application for employment. I began applying for FE roles and, before I knew it, was offered a contract of employment with Weymouth College.
Yes – during the Initial Teacher Training programme I developed the practical skills necessary to plan innovative and engaging active learning sessions, as well as learn about some of the finer details of how the sector works with local businesses and makes a significant contribution to the country’s developing workforce. The programme has also taught me about the importance of safeguarding in education as well as effective behaviour management strategies and reflective practices. I found that these skills have built upon and enhanced the expertise that I had already developed during my service in the Navy.
I am looking forward to participating in the research-focussed modules of the ITT programme as I think these elements will blend nicely with the work I am currently carrying out in collaboration with local businesses and enterprise partnerships. I am hopeful that the skills I have developed in leadership and management will mean I am well-placed to support the college at a managerial level in the future. Ultimately I am keen to further enhance the profile of Weymouth College in the public domain and make a genuine contribution to the UK’s cyber-security workforce.