The FE teaching profession is a model and driver of social mobility

Thursday 31 May 2012

The Institute for Learning (IfL) has welcomed the publication of Alan Milburn’s report for the Cabinet Office, Fair Access to Professional Careers, which focuses on the role of the professions in improving social mobility in the UK.

Toni Fazaeli, chief executive of IfL, said, “Having a professional career will continue to be a vital route to economic security and social progress, and IfL believes that every individual, regardless of background, should have an equal chance of progressing in terms of income or occupation, and fair access to a professional career. Teaching in further education is a professional career and there is inclusive and progressive entry to the profession.

“Earlier this year, we contributed to the production of Spada’s Social Mobility Toolkit for the Professions, which includes a case study about IfL member Tracey Richardson and IfL as the professional body for teachers and trainers in further education and skills. After 22 years as a technician in the Royal Air Force, Tracey worked her way to become a fully qualified teacher in plumbing. As a ‘dual professional’, i.e. an expert in the specialist vocational field and an expert teacher, she has membership of IfL and is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering, so she stays up to date with her vocational skills and knowledge as well as developments in teaching.

“IfL’s members come from a range of very different backgrounds and take a variety of routes into teaching. For the majority of people, entering the further education sector to teach is a second or third career, and IfL supports a flexible and adaptive system by which new teachers train on the job, gain teaching qualifications and then progress to Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) professional status.

“We are pleased to see Alan Milburn’s explicit recognition of further education’s contribution as a driver of social mobility, offering diverse training routes into the professions. IfL is very concerned that the Lingfield review’s recommendations in March 2012 may deprofessionalise the FE teaching workforce itself, which is an exemplar for social mobility. Like lawyers, accountants and doctors, further education teachers act as social and ethical drivers in society, and their hard-earned high professional status reflects the level of responsibility for training tomorrow’s workforce and professionals, in the public interest. Teaching in further education must remain a profession, nothing less.”


Spada, 2012. Social Mobility Toolkit for the Professions was produced on behalf of Professions for Good. Click here to download. (PDF, 2MB)

Paul Champion

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Twitter: @blogapprentice
Skype: paulchampion31

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