Career profile: Teaching– when (and how) to apply for training

For all the cataclysmic headlines about school teaching, the profession remains a popular training choice for graduates – UCAS reported a little over 46,000 PGCE applications in 2017. As finalist undergraduates, it’s likely you’ll know peers who are already decided on teacher training.

And it’s not terribly hard to see why:

  • Financial stability – with starting salaries of £23,000 – £29,000 (location dependent), and a relatively generous, guaranteed pension (a rarity), this can be a solid, long-term financial pathway.
  • High demand, forecasted rises – with an estimated 15% increase in secondary school classroom size by 2025 plus examination changes, an already high teacher demand is likely to grow, with the government pushing for extra recruitment via incentive programs.
  • Reimbursed training – heavy subsidies from the government mean that those training for teacher qualifications can receive subject-specific bursaries, generally going up to £26,000.
  • Perks – excluding some great time off, a House of Commons Library briefing (Teacher Recruitment and Retention in England by David Foster) reports incentive programs being piloted by the government, including student loan reimbursement schemes in some areas.
  • Job satisfaction – the oft-quoted ‘no two days the same’ is highly applicable with children or youth, and you’ll have a direct hand in their formative years often seeing the change and results through the years. ‘Love of teaching’ is real.
  • Degree relevance – few existing career paths will link quite as directly to what you studied as an undergrad, meaning your sense of time used quickly and efficiently will be great.
  • Transferable skill-sets – apart from the vast range of education job roles outside direct school teaching, talent and skill development are valuable skills which can be leveraged in other roles.


Things to consider…


And yet – the state of the industry and job market means that caution is needed before rushing into a decision. Following government cuts:

  • There have been cuts in administrative staff –and the work falls to teachers. Between paperwork, lesson planning, and marking you’ll be working hours similar to that of the average policeman.
  • Bursaries exist for all subjects, but actual amounts are subject dependent – for those subjects with less demand, your grant is likely to be markedly less.
  • Despite consistent reports of job satisfaction, the increasing workloads placed by under-funded schools means that burn-out is real.
  • Incentives are focused into areas of the country which are underperforming, meaning that to take full advantage, you must be able to travel.
  • Permanent positions are competitive, and rare – meaning that to avoid a cycle of temporary teaching jobs, successful graduates must go several extra miles to stand out.


So – if you’re set on success in the education industry …


…you need to play things smart. And you’ll also need to think carefully if you’ve the right qualifications (personal and professional) for the job:

  • Calm under pressure, high adaptability – this is not a job for the faint of heart. You’ll not only be working with children, but with their parents, and this will call for a steady hand. If you’re easily stressed, or have a tendency to fold under pressure or confrontation, consider training yourself up first
  • Excellent time-management – with such a high work-load, there isn’t much space for poor time management. This, thankfully, is a skill you can develop – consider starting with the University’s dedicated guides to time management.
  • Enjoy working with children – seemingly obvious. But – bear in mind that you will be with children for the complete extent of your daytime career. While this can be incredibly rewarding, it will only be so if you are happy with that decision, and have the communication skills to make it work.
  • Willing and able to travel – an ability to relocate will be particularly helpful here – government schemes are going to be focused into underperforming school regions, so being able to reach them could be advantageous.
  • Have the right degree –you can teach with most degrees. But to really maximise your changes and benefit, you need to look ahead at existing (and forecasted) career opportunities, and consider what’s in demand. Have a degree Geography, Design Technology, Physics, Religious Education, or Maths? These are currently in demand and training comes with generous bursaries. Degrees in Biology, PE, English, and History are experiencing a glut of qualified teachers, and applications may come with extra challenges.
  • Get outside experience – given how competitive the job market is, getting outside experience is greatly recommended. If you still have time at university, consider looking at outreach programs, such as Reading’s own SiS scheme (otherwise – keep reading).

And perhaps most importantly…

  • Get the right help –to maximise the benefits you reap, you MUST know the path. Thankfully, there are plenty of resources to help and guide you – the Department of Education has released resources, and it is HIGHLY recommended you start here. Fill out the online form, and you gain access to:
    • Tailored advice on teacher training;
    • Help preparing strong applications to teacher training programs
    • Access to teaching events
    • Notifications on open school experience programs.


Concluding notes


Teaching can be tough – with a high workload, a rapidly changing career landscape, and long hours, this is in no way a career path for someone who is unable to adapt to pressure.

But plan ahead, and be prepared handle the pressure, the change, and the challenge – and you’ll find yourself on a growing career pathway with opportunities and personal rewards unlike any other.

After all – where else can you find the opportunities to quite literally change the course of a person’s entire life on such a regular basis?

Love Travel, Tech and The Great Outdoors?

Craig Simmonds gives us the inside scoop on a post-study vocation that combines the outdoors and tech-based, challenge-solving adventure.

Craig was first introduced to ground probing radar tech in 1993, having  previously worked as a topographic land and measured building surveyor, as well as an Olympic Village site engineer in Barcelona.  Fascinated with the expanding technology, he was led to start experimenting with ways to blend the complex radar tech output with standard topographical practises for the construction industry. He is now Managing Director of the award-winning Surrey surveying firm, Macleod Simmonds . Based on a philosophy of constant innovation, Craig has performed training and utility surveys internationally – Vietnam, Japan, India, New Zealand and the United States. He had this to say to University of Reading students:

‘As our firm embarks on a major expansion programme, the opportunity has arisen to become part of our dynamic team.  With the exciting opportunity to explore the country and get involved in some of the most impressive British engineering projects, Macleod Simmonds can offer budding surveyors a unique training environment.  Students will also get the chance to experience first-hand the revolutionary sub surface radar technologies we have spent the last ten years developing.’

He also offers the following information on surveying careers:

  • Travel opportunities – There is the chance to explore the UK on various projects.
  • Variety– surveying is not a 9-5, with no two days the same – making this a career for students who can constantly adapt to new challenges.
  • Accessibility – with a multitude of ways to qualify, surveying is a profession open to all.
  • Tangible difference– surveying changes the physical landscape around you, giving you the opportunity to work on projects you can envision, and physically execute.
  • Growth prospects– surveying skills are a consistent demand, giving surveyors the flexibility to develop and grow in their careers.


Students interested in learning more about graduate opportunities with Craig at Macleod Simmonds should apply here, call +44 (0)330 6781115, and follow @MacleodSimmonds on Twitter and Macleod Simmonds on LinkedIn.



The Graduate Outcomes Survey

Reading Graduates, take the Graduate Outcomes survey and tell us about life after higher education

Did you graduate from Reading between Aug – Oct 2017?

If so, you’ve been sent the Graduate Outcomes survey via email. Continue reading

How to use the STAR technique in a job interview

Jessica Ching is Digital Content & Marketing Executive at the London-based graduate recruitment agency, Give A Grad A Go. Since 2009, they have placed nearly 3,000 candidates in their ideal graduate jobs. Browse the latest Graduate Jobs on Give A Grad A Go’s website.

A graduate job interview can consist of many different types of interview questions; including knowledge-based, character, credential verification, and competency-based questions. Knowing the most effective interview techniques for answering each of these questions, and understanding how to implement them, can be the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful job interview. Continue reading

Fraud Warning – Campbell Gray Hotels

Fake employer using real company name scams students around the UK – Campbell Gray Hotels

The Careers Centre advertises job opportunities for students via our online portal, MyJobsOnline. It has recently come to our attention that an individual posing as Campell Gray Hotels has posted a fraudulent job advert on MyJobsOnline. This advert has now been withdrawn.

If you have seen and responded to this advert, please be aware that the job is not genuine and the email address is fake.  If you receive any contact from an individual claiming to represent Campbell Gray Hotels, please do not respond. The individual may request a payment, or admin fee, for your job application. You should not make a payment to them under any circumstances.

Campell Gray Hotels are aware of this scam and have issued a statement on their website. You can read it here:


In the meantime, here are some pointers to avoid being scammed online:

Does the email address look genuine?

In the Campell Gray Hotels scam, the fraudster tweaked one letter in their email address to make it look genuine (there was only one “l” instead of two). Double check the email address before corresponding with any employer.

Be wary of any email address that does not look professional (for example: Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc). Most legitimate employers will have a business email address, normally with the same domain name as their website. At the Careers Centre, if an employer fails to provide a business email address we will not promote their opportunities.

Is there a fee?

Most credible employers will not charge a fee for applications. Avoid any employers who ask you to pay an admin fee – this is not common practice in the UK. The Careers Centre does not promote opportunities that require students to pay a fee of any kind.

Check the employer’s website

If you hear about a job opportunity from a third party (a jobs portal, for example), check the employer’s website to find out more. If you are unable to find the opportunity on their website, there’s a chance that the third party advert you’ve seen is not genuine. If you are uncertain, contact the employer directly. Most employers will provide a contact address for their HR department on their website.

Check the location

This may seem obvious, but it’s worth checking that the employer has an office in the location given. In the Campbell Gray Hotels scam, the advert stated that the job was based in Reading.  If you check on the Campbell Gray website, you’ll discover that they do not have any hotels in Reading.

For more information on avoiding recruitment scams, take a look at this article on the Careers blog:


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