New research commissioned by the Department for Education’s Teach in Further Education campaign has found 1 in 4 employers cite recruitment to fill growing job roles as a top priority for their business in 2024.
Employers recognise the importance of preparing a pipeline of talent for the future of their business and 93% agree they have a responsibility to help train people to future proof their sector’s workforce.
Further education (FE) is any formal learning for those aged 16+ that is not a degree and covers a wide range of subject areas from construction and building, through to manufacturing, engineering, healthcare, or law. The FE sector plays a vital role in training potential employees to meet employer needs and recruitment across sectors.
Employers recognise the role of FE, with 89% of business leaders stating it plays an important part in training the next generation of talent. Over a third (39%) said teachers with relevant industry experience were key to transferring skills and experience from industry to FE.
The Teach in Further Education campaign is calling on more employers to encourage their staff into part time teaching in FE in 2024. 42% of business leaders already offer employees the opportunity to teach an industry relevant course part time and there’s appetite to offer this further, with 1 in 5 (21%) saying they’re open to presenting this opportunity to their employees.
Many employers are already exploring how they can use their skills and knowledge to support the development of new talent, over two-thirds (69%) said they are considering teaching in FE as part of their future career plan. Through leading by example, business leaders can inspire and enable their colleagues to consider teaching in FE.
Further education teachers play a vital role preparing their students to enter the workforce. 87% of business leaders who undertook FE themselves said their teacher positively impacted their career path and the choices they made in their career.
Further education teachers are needed across many subject areas but there is particular demand for workers from the following sectors: Health and Social Care, Construction, Engineering and Manufacturing, Legal, Finance, Accounting and Digital and IT.
Alongside the vital industry skills and experience professionals can share, many employees will already have the qualities and characteristics developed in the workplace to make them great further education teachers. This includes communication skills (53%), reliability (35%), innovative thinking (38%) and leadership skills (28%) – all of which business leaders say they value and prioritise in the workplace.
Teaching in FE can be flexible and may appeal to employees including those looking for new development opportunities alongside their current career, those nearing retirement but wanting to stay connected to their industry, or people seeking a less physical role within their sector. You don’t always need a prior teaching qualification to start teaching in further education. Many industry professionals teach part time and complete teaching training on the job, meaning they can start earning straight away.
Piers Linney, entrepreneur and former BBC Dragon’s Den investor said, “Most employers recognise they have a responsibility to train the next generation of talent in their sector. Now is the time to take action and reap the rewards for doing so.
In 2024, training, recruitment and retention of staff is a big priority for employers. By encouraging employees to share their skills in a new way through teaching in Further Education (FE), organisations demonstrate their commitment to not only individual’s career development but also to the wider sector’s skills pipeline. Your business is set to benefit too as staff who work part-time as Further Education teachers provide a great network of contacts and can help spot and shape the future talent you need.”
Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia, Chair of HMRC and Founder of money-saving app Snoop, said, “This new research shows recruitment of fresh talent is a top priority for business decision makers in 2024. While it can be a challenge to find the right people for your business, it’s promising to see that many employers already recognise the role they play in preparing this workforce pipeline. There’s never been a better time to support this mission by encouraging your staff to teach part time in FE.
Supporting the training of the next generation of talent is in everyone’s interest. FE teachers with industry experience bring so much value to learners by sharing their existing skills and experience. In addition, employers will reap the benefits of recruiting highly trained and ‘workplace ready’ people. It’s a win-win situation for FE and industry.”
Christian Nunez Fuentes, is a part time Computing FE teacher at Bedford College. He teaches four days a week alongside running his own IT company.
He said, “As a business owner myself I recognise the importance of training the next generation of talent to fuel a healthy recruitment pipeline. Becoming a dual professional was a great way for me to continue my own career in the sector while supporting this.
If you’re interested in a new challenge, teaching in FE enables you to try something new while staying connected to your industry.
Sharing my skills with the next generation is something that has always appealed to me and brings me lots of satisfaction. Knowing that I have the opportunity to pass my knowledge on to others and watching them reach their full potential and exceed their own expectations makes me feel very proud.”