Taking Teaching Further: South Essex College

Having taken part in rounds two and three of Taking Teaching Further, South Essex College has been successful in recruiting 15 industry experts to teach at its campus between 2018 and 2020. Having recruited five trainee teachers in round two, the College followed up its success by recruiting 10 further trainee teachers in round three, across a diverse list of technical subject areas including construction, digital, engineering and manufacturing, catering and hospitality, health and science, protective services, legal, finance and accounting.

Its success in recruiting talented industry experts has been matched by the delivery of a rigorous support package for its trainee teachers, which has enabled South Essex to retain all of the recruits it has attracted so far.

Senior level involvement crucial

Having had senior level buy-in has been fundamental to the college’s success, with Assistant Principal Nicki Kelly leading the project from a central senior level perspective. Ensuring that there are clear lines of collaboration and communication between the quality team, department heads, and ITE staff, has proved particularly effective at South Essex College. This is reflected in what other successful FE providers on the Taking Teaching Further programme have shared too, with collaboration between quality, subject department, and ITE teams instrumental to success.

The impact of Taking Teaching Further

Speaking about the impact that the programme has had on the College, Nicki said: “The TTF project has enabled us as a college to promote our vacancies to attract highly skilled industry professional to join the college, with an excellent support package for their journey into teaching. This package has provided additional support and incentive to applicants, for whom teaching is unknown territory that is not always perceived in a positive light.”

The industry experts that the College has managed to bring in have brought with them a wealth of knowledge in their areas of vocation, with a range of different backgrounds. One recruit, who worked for 34 years as a City & Guilds Advanced qualified Plumbing & Heating engineer, felt it was his time “…to pass on my knowledge to the next generation”. Another recruit had amassed valuable experiences of working at multinational organisations; first as an apprentice at Ford Motors and then as an electrician for Procter & Gamble, allowing him to bring industry relevant examples to his students.

Getting recruitment right

Nicki’s advice to other FE providers who are looking to recruit and retain staff on the programme is to: “Make the process personal and ensure the person leading on the project meets with the applicants and discusses the programme benefits and a career in teaching. If they wish to pursue the offer, then they should attend a formal interview, as per the college’s process.”

For further details of the Taking Teaching Further programme, please visit the dedicated page of the ETF website.