SET members reflect on the past membership year

With the SET membership renewals deadline fast approaching, the Society for Education and Training (SET) reflects on the challenges of the past year and finds out why SET members value being a part of its growing community of professionals in the FE and Training sector.

In the recently published inTuition Membership Review 2020-21, Martin Reid, Director of SET, said: “If there’s one thing that we can take from the past year, it’s just how well the further education (FE) sector can cope when we all pull together, whether that’s delivering online lessons to learners or undertaking professional development through virtual conferences.

“Not only have you ensured that people across the entire FE spectrum have been able to continue learning, you’ve also found time to help others and share your knowledge and expertise with the wider educational sector.”
Adapting to the changing needs of the sector

In a year where no one could have predicted what lay ahead, the benefits of being a part of a professional membership body have been adapted by SET in much the same way that the sector has been forced to adjust its approach to teaching and learning.

In April, the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) launched its #ETFSupportsFE campaign to support teachers, trainers and SET members through the challenges that Covid-19 brought to their daily lives.

As part of this, SET launched an exclusive monthly webinar series with teacher and author Geoff Petty to support SET members (and the wider education sector) to adapt to new remote and blended teaching approaches. The series also covered how to keep learners motivated during this time.

In addition, a special May issue of inTuition was published, covering topics on online learning, mental wellbeing advice and information on the ETF’s online CPD, webinars and resources.

With workshops, courses and events running online, SET moved its annual conference to a fully digital event, resulting in the largest attendance to date.

“This year, because the SET Conference was held online, we were able to increase the number of staff that could go, which really increased that sense of inclusivity,” said Katie Wilden, Quality and Professional Learning Manager at West Suffolk College. “We normally hire a minibus and a small group of us head to Birmingham, but this time we could dip in and out throughout the day and get that live experience, and we could also watch it on demand as well,” she added.
Reasons for renewing your SET membership

From being part of a community of like-minded professionals, to improving knowledge and teaching practice under challenging circumstances, what is it which makes SET members renew their membership each year?

Here a selection of SET members explain why SET membership continues to play a significant role in their professional journey.

Kerry Scattergood MSET QTLS: “I feel so inspired to have a chance at a collective 'voice' advocating for our professionalism in adult and further education, so I re-joined. I also attended the inaugural conference and was blown away!”

Penny Taylor FSET ATS: “As a member of SET you automatically connect with a range of like-minded practitioners where collaboration occurs. The courses for ongoing CPD allows for a choice of personal and professional development and creates opportunities for networking with others.”

Dr Ysolina Delgado Arvelo MSET QTLS: “SET has opened doors to professional development and career enhancement opportunities for me. I feel I belong to and connect with a whole community of like-minded people. The work SET does to raise the profile of the Training and Skills sector in all its shapes and forms has been incredible.”

Dan Williams MSET QTLS: “For me, being a SET member is not about the many tangible benefits that are offered as part of the subscription, rather it is the sense of pride knowing that, in being a member, I am committed to and responsible for my continuous professional development. Moreover, the knowledge that I am part of a community who also value their development.”

Anita McGowan FSET ATS: “What I love about SET is the continuous developmental opportunities provided which are always relevant and specific to the FE sector. It is great to belong to such a community of like-minded teachers.”

Lora Scott MSET QTLS: “I initially re-joined SET in order to gain Qualified Teaching Learning and Skills (QTLS) status and work towards Advanced Teacher Status (ATS), but I have found the CPD webinars and professional journals so valuable in terms of keeping my practice current and feel connected across the sector.”

Jerry Nightingale MSET: “I have been working in offender learning for 18 years and I have been a SET member since 2014. We prison teachers tend to be ignored or forgotten by the mainstream, let alone the FE sector, so as one of the "forgotten", the array on knowledge and experience of other SET members is immense. SET’s drive for self-improvement for the benefit of both learners and the practitioner is constant, helpful, supportive and membership-focused.”

Sandra Rennie FSET ATS: “I joined SET so that I could feel part of a valued profession and to make contacts with others interested in research. I find SET an exciting, supportive, and forward-looking professional body. I have completed both QTLS and ATS and learned so much in the process. I also enjoy the online CPD courses, the networks, and the articles on pedagogy in inTuition.”

Lynne Taylerson MSET ATS: “Becoming a SET member opens up lots of opportunities for engaging in professional local and national networking events and conferences as well as giving you access to inTuition, a knowledgeable and engaging professional journal written by and for educators in the sector.”

Stavroula Bibila FSET ATS: “I obtained QTLS in 2012 and ATS in 2018. Although I have been working in Higher Education for the past few years, I find my SET membership very useful as it helps me access resources on higher vocational and technical education and training. I work in Higher and Degree Apprenticeships and the insights I get by interacting with other SET members, mainly practitioners in FE, are invaluable – particularly when discussing pedagogical issues.”