Myerscough College: Taking Teaching Further

Myerscough College is a specialist college and the North West centre for land-based, science, engineering and sports education. The College joined the Taking Teaching Further (TTF) programme, funded by the Department for Education to support industry professionals to transition into teaching, when it was first launched in 2018, then participated again in 2020 and 2021. So far, the College has recruited 28 industry professionals through Taking Teaching Further. Of these, 26 trainees have successfully undertaken teacher training qualifications and are now teaching at the College.

Here Sue Keenan, Director of Quality and Performance at Myerscough College, talks about how they have successfully recruited industry professionals onto the programme and how they have supported them to become successful teachers.

Why did you decide to get involved with Taking Teaching Further?

We have always recruited industry experts. We want our teaching staff to have that dual professionalism, to bring credibility from their industry background and also to be expert teachers. When Taking Teaching Further came up, we jumped at the chance as it was giving us that valuable extra funding to allow us to create space for trainee teachers from industry so that they could have additional support and training. We have three staff who are Teaching and Learning Coaches and their role is to provide that intensive support for those new trainees.

How have you found the programme?

We were hooked from the first round of the programme as it was easy to administer, and it worked really well for our teachers. We far exceeded our initial allocation and I had to keep going back to the Education and Training Foundation to ask if we could recruit some more!

How do find talented individuals from business and industry? Do you use other methods for raising awareness apart from job adverts?

People may not be looking for a job in teaching, so we do need to reach out a lot. We advertise on our college website, but sometimes we also approach recruitment agencies for more specialist provision. We use social media to advertise vacancies, especially LinkedIn. Often the most effective approach is when our staff from industry share vacancies with their own networks and say how great it is to share their skills, knowledge and experience with the next generation. It’s really important that professionals in the industry talk to other professionals. We also reach out through our subject-specific networks.

Do you do anything in particular when you advertise vacancies for Taking Teaching Further?

We make sure that we include information about Taking Teaching Further in our adverts so that people who might think, “I couldn’t do that job because I’m not a qualified teacher” understand that they do not have to have a teaching qualification in advance, and they will be supported to learn how to teach. We work hard to take away any perceived barriers to working in a college.

What sort of qualities have you looked for in potential recruits?

The critical thing is attitude and passion for your sector and your industry. Through the Taking Teaching Further scheme, we will teach you to be a teacher, but we need you to have the enthusiasm, the willingness to learn and that real drive to want to share your skills, knowledge and experience with learners. I think a lot of staff have an idea of what teaching in a further education provider will be like, perhaps based on their own experience of being taught, but the reality is often quite different. They realise it’s a huge commitment to be a teacher, there’s a lot of work behind the scenes planning, reporting, making sure everything is right for the students, meeting safeguarding obligations and working with the awarding bodies, so it needs the right attitude to succeed.

How do you retain individuals once you have recruited them?

Myerscough is a great place to work, it’s a very nice place to be, but we also really try to support our new recruits coming in. Taking Teaching Further helps us to do that by giving our trainee teachers a less intense timetable. In the Further Education sector, there has been a tendency to bring people in from industry and let them start teaching immediately, when we really need them to have time to learn how to teach. The secret of our success at Myerscough is the support we give through the line managers and also through our Teaching and Learning Coaches and our Teacher Education team. We have our own PGCE Certificate of Education programme which we run in partnership with University of Central Lancashire. Together they provide wraparound support to each TTF trainee and make sure that they are able to ask questions and have someone to go to if they need support and advice.

What tips would you offer other colleges who are recruiting onto the Taking Teaching Further programme for the first time?

My advice to anyone taking on a Taking Teaching Further trainee for the first time is just to make sure that your induction of that individual is really strong. That wraparound support right from the beginning is vital. You need to be mindful that they are being faced with a lot of new things, like a lot of new jargon and language they will be unsure about. They need help with their initial planning for learning and for managing behaviour and understanding where students are coming from. I would advise that they have a ‘go-to’ buddy and mentor in their department who is not their line manager, but a safe person they can go to and ask lots of questions. It’s also important to have patience with them – to remember that they will need time to settle down, so keep checking in with them to see how they are.

Secondly, you need good communication and organisation across the organisation to ensure that trainees can have time off timetable and do get the extra support that is promised. It needs a single point of contact in the organisation, preferably someone from the Senior Management Team, with oversight for Taking Teaching Further across the board, who can liaise with all the relevant Heads of Department. It’s definitely worth it!

Applications for Round Five of Taking Teaching Further are open until 15 December 2022. For details, visit the Taking Teaching Further page of the ETF website. Advice on recruiting and retaining teachers through Taking Teaching Further from providers including Myerscough College is available here.

Woman riding a horse across water

I have been really grateful for the programme. The course itself has helped me in my new teaching role. It has allowed me to earn a wage whilst studying and completing the qualification. I have met some really interesting and inspiring teachers along the way which has definitely developed my own teaching, I have gained confidence and knowledge and this will impact on the quality of the lessons I deliver.”

Emma McDonald BHSII
Practical Lecturer in Equine Studies