Do you enjoy:
- Working with people?
- Helping people develop new knowledge and learn new skills?
- Ensuring that young people have the best start in life?
- Helping people understand their own skills and potential?
To work in this sector it is essential you have:
- experience of working with children and young people,
- good communication skills,
- planning skills,
- professionalism and organisational skills.
Routes into this job sector
There are various types of qualifications available:
- At 14 GCSEs in English and maths will be compulsory if you want to get into this sector as a teacher but will also be useful in all other jobs in this sector.
- At 16 you have more options, you could do A Levels, which are general academic subjects or develop your knowledge and skills for this sector through an apprenticeship/traineeship or a vocational qualification. For teaching the usual route is through A Levels.
- At 18 or 19 your options open further - you may wish to do higher education/university course, with 8 out of 10 A Level students choosing this pathway and half of all BTEC National students. However there might be other routes into your chosen career - through apprenticeships and vocational qualifications For teaching, most people will either do a degree in teaching or do a degree in a subject e.g geography, etc. and then train to be a teacher in a year after their degree called a Post Grdauate Teaching Certificate (PGCE).
Work experience, either voluntary or paid, will help you stand out when applying for education and training jobs, and the more experience you have, the better. Working in summer camps or helping to run sports activities for children also provide beneficial experiences.
There are many career pathways in this sector and you need to first consider:
- What age group you would like to work with?
- Would you want a support role such as a teaching assistant, or do you want to become a teacher?
If you prefer to work with adults there are opportunities to become a trainer, such as an IT trainer or to teach English as a foreign language.
A career in teaching requires a degree and there are a number of options. You can complete a teaching degree, a postgraduate certificate or one of a number of work based programmes. Firstly you will need good qualifications including GCSE in English and maths and qualifications or job experience in the subject you want to teach.
There are job opportunities available for people who wish to start their careers in this sector at an assistant level and the most popular route is through an apprenticeship.
The education and training sector invest heavily in supporting people to gain additional qualifications – so you start at one level and then might be able to work and study to a higher level.
To find out more about the qualifications needed in this sector go to Get into teaching or the sector Skills council for Child Care, to find out more about being a teaching assistant go to Teaching Assistant Focus.
Spotlight on Teaching Assistants
Teaching assistants work alongside class teachers in primary and secondary schools. A teaching assistant’s role will be varied. This will include working with small groups or one-to-one with pupils, providing additional support for those who are disabled or have learning difficulties. You would also manage the classroom environment – e.g. preparing for lessons, organising displays and keeping the classroom tidy and be involved in setting up events and outings.
The role is usually quite flexible, full or part time and generally term time only. It can be very rewarding and you will be a role model for the pupils you support. You need excellent communication skills with good reading and writing skills. You have to be flexible, patient, organised and creative. It is also good to have had some experience of working with children and teenagers, through work experience or volunteering.
There are no specific qualifications relating to the role, each school or local authority will have their own criteria but you are required to pass the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check for safeguarding the welfare. There will be opportunities for training and development when you are in post. You can go on to become a Higher level Teaching Assistant and some do go on to train as teachers.
Visit the National Careers Service for more information on becoming an Teaching Assistant
You can also find more information and further links here
Websites for vacancies in this sector
Also look at Local Authorities websites vacancy pages.
Why not try a free, online course (MOOC) in this job area?
Future Learn have lots of free online courses that will improve your knowledge of this job sector and improve your chances of landing your dream job. e.g. The University of Sheffield has developed a 7 week course about Exploring Play - the importance of play in everyday life.