A college lecturer who served with the army in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan is urging former armed forces personnel to follow her in considering a career in further education.
Steph Whyte works as an electrical industry teacher at Lakes College and draws on her experiences with the Royal Signals when teaching her students.
And this month, Steph will be one of the speakers at a regional conference to be held at the Lillyhall college to showcase jobs in further education for service personal and the schemes available to help them switch careers.
The Further Forces event will be held in the Northern Hub of the National College for Nuclear at Lakes College on March 24. The day will be made up of keynote presentations, workshops and panel discussion sessions.
Steph, 45, said: “I’ve taught at Lakes College for three and a half years and absolutely love it.
“You can see the difference you are making to people’s lives and the experiences I had in the army helps me engage with the learners and speak about things that really get their attention. So I bring my medals in, or the commendation that I got with the marines and talk about things like being responsible for securing the power supply for the field hospital in Lashkargah.
“I’m looking forward to speaking at the Further Forces recruitment conference and I’ll be around during the event to answer questions and hopefully show people who’ve been in the armed forces how they could use the skills they’ve developed in the forces to help college students.”
Further Forces aims to provide a smooth transition into a new career in further education technical teaching. It also provides an opportunity for further education providers to advertise hard-to-fill technical teaching vacancies.
Since it started in 2017, the programme has attracted candidates from the Air Force, Army and Royal Navy to teach a variety of technical subjects that are acknowledged as hard-to-fill in further education. Recruits have included engineers, scientists and digital specialists, who have won praise from their new colleagues and students alike for the skills and experience they bring to their new careers.
Paul Fairclough, Director of Teaching and Learning for the National College for Nuclear at Lakes College, said: “I’m delighted to be welcoming the Education and Training Foundation and Association of Colleges who are supporting our national event. It has been designed to encourage and promote further education and higher education as an excellent vocational opportunity for ex-service personnel within our splendid National College for Nuclear.”
Anyone interested in attending can register through the college’s website: www.lcwc.ac.uk