Ben Swidenbank is an Adult Skills Tutor – Pesticide Application and Horticultural Machinery Specialist – at Myerscough College. He worked as a sports turf expert for over 13 years at places including Arsenal Football Club, Wembley Stadium, Oval Cricket Ground and Wimbledon Tennis Club.
What was your main motivation to leave industry to become a teacher?
My industry (Sports turf) is struggling to find suitable new recruits. I would like to be able to help inspire and bring new people into the industry through teaching. And I would like to give something back after having great experiences through my industry. I am hoping to make a difference and so have a more rewarding career through helping people.
How has a reduced timetable supported you to settle into Myerscough?
I think my experience has been particularly strange because of lockdown. I do not really have much of a timetable at all presently. Although this week and next I am shadowing my mentor two days a week. I feel I am lucky being in this situation as I have lots of time to do mandatory training, my teaching course and orientate myself with the college online and physically.
How important has your industry experience been in settling into your role?
I would not say I am particularly settled in my role yet – this being only my third week. But having 14 years industry experience means I understand the technical side of my job better. Also, with being a bit more mature, I am more capable of taking everything in and rational decision making.
How supported do you feel by being on the TTF programme?
I may not have realised the support has come through TTF, but it is great to have my teacher training fully funded. Also, I have felt a great deal of support from my colleagues at Croxteth and Steve Slater, my mentor. The support from teaching training staff within Myerscough has also been invaluable. As I have previously said, my reduced timetable is very useful to me for settling in.
How useful has work shadowing/observing other colleagues been in helping you settle into your role at college?
Learning from my colleagues has been immensely important for learning about my role, the college, and how to go about delivering my teaching.
How helpful is your PGCE/Cert Ed/PET in helping you in your role?
I think doing the course is vital as without it I would have no formal teacher training. And I think it is of the utmost importance that I have education to be able to teach and so that I will be properly qualified for my role.