The first Armed Services leaver to gain a PGCE through the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) Further Forces programme has been inspiring more ex-forces personnel to follow him into a technical teaching career in Further Education (FE).
Alex Knowles, a former Mechanical Technician Supervisor in the Royal Air Force, shared his success at the Employment Symposium held as part of the Invictus Games UK Celebrations in Sheffield last week. His aim was to encourage service personnel who are considering resettlement to choose a career in technical teaching in FE where there is a recognised national skills shortage and their experience will be highly valued.
Alex is the first Graduate of the Further Forces programme and is now a qualified FE technical teacher, specialising in Engineering, and a Programme Manager for Apprenticeships at Grantham College. He achieved his Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) at Level 7 through Further Forces earlier this year, graduating alongside participants from the ETF’s SET for Teaching Success programme at a ceremony in Nottingham on 5 July.
Alex said: “I am proud to have graduated with my PGCE, I am really enjoying being part of inspiring future engineers. I expect most people in the Forces want to do a job that makes a difference and teaching in FE lets you do that. Speaking at the Invictus Games UK Trials Employment Forum has given me the chance to show other service leavers how they can be supported in finding a new vocation.”
There are currently 60 trainees with the Further Forces Programme, which aims to address national teacher shortages in SET, STEM and wider technical subject areas in FE. Further Forces supports the resettlement and transition of Armed Forces service leavers into civilian life, helping to secure employment and establish new careers. The programme continues to recruit service leavers for fully-funded teacher training.
Cerian Ayres, Head of Technical Education at the the Education and Training Foundation (ETF), who also presented at the Employment Forum, said: “The Further Forces programme plays an important role in the delivery of two key government policies: the Industrial Strategy and The Strategy for our Veterans. The Invictus Games UK Trials demonstrate the wealth of talent and diversity of our service leavers. We look forward to supporting many of these inspiring people to bring their expert technical knowledge and skills into FE teaching, bringing the ‘world of work’ to life for young people and adults. Many service leavers who have engaged with the Further Forces programme already act as fantastic role models, demonstrating the transferability of knowledge and skills gained in the services.”
More information on Further Forces can be found on the ETF website. Several of the programme participants have shared their stories in case studies, including Alex, former Royal Engineer Lloyd Bailey, and former Combat Medical Technician Hannah Payne.