A college in the South Wales valleys has launched a new initiative to train current apprentices to become the next generation of lecturers at its campuses.
Coleg y Cymoedd has unveiled its ‘Apprentice Lecturer scheme’ – an eight-year programme that will equip engineering and manufacturing apprentices at the college with the skills and knowledge they need to become future lecturing staff within those departments.
The learners are studying, engineering or manufacturing programmes, the programme will see each of the apprentices spend time shadowing tutors, receiving mentoring, taking part in industry placements and completing a variety of teaching qualifications.
As they progress through the programme, the learners will work as workshop technicians at Coleg y Cymoedd and will begin delivering their own lectures in their third year, gradually increasing the number of hours they spend teaching to build their experience.
One learner taking part in the scheme is Richard Jones, 29, from Pontypridd, who is opted to join the programme after completing a qualification in mechanical engineering.
Richard said: “Just over three years ago I decided to make a complete career change, leaving my job in retail to pursue an NVQ in mechanical engineering. At the time, I never thought that by the end of my qualification I would be enrolled on a programme to become a lecturer in the subject.
“Teaching was not something I had previously considered until my tutor told me about the lecturer apprenticeship scheme and suggested I give it a try. I’m so glad that I did as I love being on the programme. I get on well with all my learners and enjoy helping and watching them improve. It has given me a sense of reward I have never had before with other jobs. I now know that lecturing is definitely what I want to do as a career.
“I am currently helping lecturers with their teaching and the next step for me is to complete my teacher’s assessor award which will allow me which will allow me to practice and develop my teaching skills and become qualified. I’m hoping that once I qualify, I’ll be able to secure a full-time job at Coleg y Cymoedd.’
The initiative was the brainchild of Gavin Davies, Assistant Principal of Quality Improvement at Coleg y Cymoedd, who wanted to develop a way of retaining talent and attracting highly skilled staff to lecturing positions, following the retirement of three lecturers at the college who had a combined total of 96 years of experience.
Gavin said: “The loss of skills and talent through retirement is a concern for all organisations so it’s important to have a strategy in place to ensure that skills remain once experienced staff leave. This new programme will ensure a continued pipeline of lecturing talent at the college.
“The initiative will allow a new wave of hard-working digitally capable engineers to learn from experienced staff and pass on their own skills while bringing fresh ideas and points of view to the college.”
The programme was first introduced in 2019, with the first round of learners on the scheme now set to begin the teaching element of their training. They are now working towards their Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievements and Assessor awards, which will allow them to assess practical work completed in the workshops.
Following the success of the initial pilot programme, Coleg y Cymoedd hope to expand the apprentice lecturer programme to cover other departments within the college.