My journey to teacher training
Going straight from school into a job isn’t the route that Julia Jones wanted to take - she wanted to continue studying, do her A-levels and then go on to get a degree.
But having taken her parents’ advice in the late 1980s to get a job as soon as possible, and having brought up two children, a quarter of a century on she’s proved that she has what it takes to achieve her academic ambitions, and finally study for her dream job.
The 44-year-old mum of two from Bridgend - who’s currently a self-employed childminder, a freelance writer for a national childcare magazine, and a seamstress who concentrates on making regency gowns and costumes – is now working on her latest qualification, a Post Compulsory Education and Training (PcET) at the University of South Wales.
And it’s been quite a journey to teacher training for Julia.
“I wanted to go into higher education when I was 18, but my parents didn't see the point in me getting my A-levels or a degree and insisted I enter to world of employment,” she explained.
“It was the late 80s and things were different then, so I left school. But, as an adult, I wanted to prove that I could get a degree. I did that - I have a degree and masters in education and lots of other things in between - and intend to start my PhD once I've finished this course.”
Having completed her MA, Julia found that getting into her chosen field wasn’t as easy as she may have expected, so USW’s teaching course was ideal for her.
“After I finished my masters I didn't know what to do with my qualification,” she explained.
“I applied for a few jobs but no one wanted to employ a childminder with a masters. I didn't have enough experience for teaching jobs or I was overqualified for non-teaching roles.
“So I decided to get a teaching qualification to get into teaching properly. USW is my local university – it’s where I did my BA - so I felt comfortable coming back after doing my masters elsewhere.”
The PcET gives graduates and non-graduates the qualification to teach in further education, or adult and community education. In Julia’s class, there’s a wide variety of adult students – ranging from a further education college lecturer to a brewery employee and a police community support officer (PCSO).
The support from others on the course is something Julia says is vital. “We are a small group on a Thursday evening but we are all very close and really supportive to each other, we're like a little study family,” she said.
The course is delivered by a small but highly qualified and supportive team and is suitable for those currently teaching or intending to teach not only in FE colleges but also includes prison environments, police and fire service training establishments, sixth form colleges, adult and community centres, industry, training organisations and HE depending on qualifications and prior experience.
The course explores ideas and good practice in relation to teaching and learning, considers wider roles that learners may undertake as part of their professional practice as well as issues that impact upon the post-compulsory education and training sectors.