Teaching - student stories
Sue Lloyd, Skillbuild Training Adviser
What is your current job?
I work as a Skillbuild training adviser on a government training scheme, employed by a private company linked to the local council. My role involves working with groups of young people who have recently left school, are looking for work placements and who want to develop their key skills. I found the job via an advert in the local paper. Each course lasts for 13 weeks and the trainees attend for four days per week.
What was your route to qualifying to teach?
It wasn't a straightforward route! Jobs are hard to come by in rural Wales so when I left school at 16 I tried hairdressing, secretarial work, factory work and ran my own craft business. Volunteering in a women's refuge helping women suffering the effects of domestic abuse put their lives back together gave me an initial insight into helping others.
My mother had been a teacher and I was interested but never believed that it was something I could do. However I started studying with the OU and discovered that maybe I did have the ability to study and succeed. I hadn't enjoyed school. I studied English and social science as part of my OU degree, then went onto a PGCE in further education at University College Wales at Newport. I taught A levels for two years then decided I would rather teach 'life' skills, so I applied for the Skillbuild post.
What does your current job involve?
I teach key skills to groups of 16–19-year-olds who are looking for training places or modern apprenticeships. It is mostly in a classroom environment, but includes team building and outdoor activities, and the aim is to help them recognise the skills they already have, develop their skills further, plus help show them they have something to offer and build their confidence. The challenge is that some of them don't really want to be there and I have to sell the idea to them, make it fun and help them to see that they have some control over their lives. We use computers and have plenty of discussions where I try to challenge their perceptions. The course also includes one week of the Pacific Institute 'Breakthrough' programme. In the summer we take groups of ten or so orienteering with trained guides.
What are the best and worst parts?
I enjoy the reward of helping young people and being able to relate to them and their problems and helping them to progress.
The downside is that there is a lot of paperwork and sometimes communication links between colleagues aren't as effective as they could be.
Where do you see your future?
I have been in this role for just a year and I am on a short-term contract, but I would hope that this will be renewed. I enjoy teaching life skills and would like to continue in this area. I am on the committee of my local youth club and the area of youth work interests me too.