Some career advice please?
DepressionIsAMonster · 18/12/2020 13:46
Hoping to get some input from those in the know to help DH make a decision - sorry this is long!
DH got good grades in GCSEs and A Levels and went to Oxbridge. Didn’t finish degree due to significant MH issues. Tried a couple of times, has probably done about 4 years of study in total, but never graduated.
Has been a SAHD since leaving uni, along with ad hoc informal tutoring for friends’ children and a couple of other casual jobs. He’s really keen to get into teaching, but has ruled himself out because he doesn’t have a degree - he’s had his MH under control for a few years now, but doesn’t want to push it by going back to try and finish his undergrad.
He’s been trying to get into TA roles, but seems to have a chicken and egg situation where schools want him to have a qualification, but the qualifying colleges want him to have a TA position. He’s contacted all the local schools this year to try and get unpaid work experience, but, because of Covid, they’ve all said no.
He’s now applied for, and got, an apprentice TA position. This is great news, for his confidence as much as anything. However, it pays £4 ph, which I think is about £5.5k p/a, and it’s an 18 month contract. This will put us at a significant financial disadvantage when we factor in the childcare we’ll have to pay for to facilitate the new job.
I guess my question is - is this the best way for him to get into teaching or should he keep trying for a TA rather than apprentice role, that would pay slightly more? Are there any other routes that might be worth exploring? If it is the best route for him, is he really locked in for 18 months or could he use it as a launchpad in the meantime to try and get a TA role?
Any other thoughts would be great, as this is all totally new to me.
Penyu · 18/12/2020 20:16
I can't believe there is an 'apprentice TA' role even available, and at that rate! Our cover supervisor is completely unqualified, no GCSE at all. And he is covering classes etc and I think getting circa £11/hr but I'm not certain exactly.
It might be more cost effective for your dh to finish his degree first then look for something like Teach First?
To be honest I'm surprised that LSA positions are so hard to come by, especially for male staff. Are you looking at primary?
Penyu · 18/12/2020 20:17
Looking at your message again, that £4 hour thing is ridiculous. They are taking the piss, surely?
DepressionIsAMonster · 18/12/2020 21:02
Thanks for the response @Penyu! I know, £4ph is such a small amount. I’m assuming that’s because they’re aiming for school leavers, but it’s a tiny amount of money for any adult in reality.
There’s quite a few of these apprentice roles available - here’s an example (not the one DH has been offered): www.future-talent.com/apprenticeship/detail/apprentice-teaching-assistant-175939
He’s been applying for work experience in primary schools, mainly because our kids are primary aged so has more recent relevant experience for them, but is ultimately more interested in secondary.
Definitely would be more cost effective to do the degree and Teach First, but he has such bad associations with the undergrad experience I would worry it could bring back the MH issues again. In an ideal world, there’d be a sort of twin track undergrad / Teach First approach for a year or two, but from what I can see, you can’t do TF, or any teaching qual, without first having finished the undergrad degree
DepressionIsAMonster · 18/12/2020 21:05
The other thing of which I’m mindful, knowing how overstretched education is, is whether the JD for an apprentice position will look much different in practice from a full TA - and then that starts to feel not worth it for £4ph for 18 months!
DepressionIsAMonster · 19/12/2020 10:41
Malbecfan · 19/12/2020 11:47
My local primary school is recruiting TA positions. The hourly pay rate is (I think) £9.18. The only qualifications needed are good Maths and English. I passed the job advert on to my DDs who are both at uni. One has friends who have recently graduated and looking for work, the other has friends who didn't bother with uni. We are in the SW of England.
hallamoo · 19/12/2020 20:48
Apprenticeship pay rate if you're over 19 is £4.15ph, but after the first year, should switch to national minimum wage. If they're advertising £4ph for 18 months - that's illegal.
SineOfTheTimes · 20/12/2020 09:27
There used to be a scheme for TAs to train as teachers while finishing their degree - I think it was called the Registered Teacher Programme.
Just a bit of a caveat: teaching can be a fantastic job. Being a teacher can also be a very intense and high-pressured role, with multiple short-term conflicting deadlines, a large volume of urgent work, and a feeling of being pulled in several different directions. It can be very hard to stop working for the day/week as there is always something more you could or should be doing. It is a demanding job which can take its toll, MH-wise.
Might also be worth considering other roles such as mentoring, coaching, expanding the informal tutoring, teaching outside the classroom, or working with young people in other educational settings and activities?
SineOfTheTimes · 20/12/2020 09:32
Thinking about the degree - would there be scope for finishing via the OU? Could that be sufficiently different to be doable?
DepressionIsAMonster · 20/12/2020 15:37
@Malbecfan that’s interesting - in the job adverts round here for TAs, they tend to say ‘suitably qualified and experienced’ and only seem to want Level 2 or above. It’s my understanding that in order to get these qualifications, you need to have an ongoing work placement - hence the chicken and egg problem!
@hallamoo you’re right, I didn’t twig the extra 15p an hour - the position is offering £4.15ph.
@SineOfTheTimes I hadn’t come across the RTP before; a quick Google looks really interesting as it exactly fits with the credits DH already has. There doesn’t seem to be much recent info on it, so I wonder if it’s still in operation, or has perhaps changed its name? Absolutely take your point about the toll teaching can take; without going into too much identifying detail, a lot of the MH issues stemmed from growing up in a family of ultra high achieving macho banker types (with personalities to match) and DH never fitting in. I actually think teaching would be great for him, as he gets a lot of fulfilment from it and doesn’t have any of the family pressure behind it.
Thanks for all your input, some real food for thought.
TheLetterZ · 20/12/2020 20:00
Teaching is a very stressful job and he would need to think very carefully about this and his mental health, if finishing his degree might be then how will he cope with preparing for Qualified teacher status, even if he doesn’t for a PGCE.
Is there a way he can expand his tutoring business?
spanieleyes · 20/12/2020 20:25
Could he finish his degree through the Open University and then do a PGCE?
PoptartPoptart · 20/12/2020 21:12
What does the apprenticeship entail exactly? The title suggests it’s training on the job - if so, what support and training will he be getting exactly?
In reality, is it just a way for the school to pay peanuts to fill a TA role under the guise of an apprenticeship?
Can he not do the TA Level 3 course at an adult education college and volunteer in a school for a few hours a week? Or are schools literally not allowing any parent volunteers at the moment because of Covid?
Flowerblue · 21/12/2020 18:59
Whilst admiring his determination, if he’s not willing to finish his degree due to fear of mental health issues flaring up again, I really wouldn’t advise teaching. I’d look to building a healthy tutoring business. I’ve been a ta for 10 years and always balked at qualifying as a teacher because I have seen far too much first hand. I’m happy as an HLTA and tutor though!
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