Civvy Life – Alex Knowles

Civvy Life – Alex Knowles

By Ed Hanna

The Further Forces programme has so far helped over 60 people from all roles within the Armed Services to find a new career as a technical teacher in the further education sector.

If you are preparing to leave the Forces in the next two years, or have left in the last five years, Further Forces can offer you fully funded teacher training and help you secure a post with an FE provider, teaching students aged 16-plus.

Meet a Further Forces Recruit – Alex Knowles Alex was in the RAF for 15 years, working as an Aircraft Technician, he was then promoted to Mechanical Technician Supervisor and subsequently worked as an RAF Recruiter. He is now an engineering lecturer at Grantham College and is completing a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) through the Further Forces.

What made you consider the Further Forces Programme?

I had always had an aspiration to get into teaching. But I wanted to teach mechanical engineering so further education seemed the better option as, unlike in schools, it is more engineering focused so I could use my technical knowledge and skills. During my resettlement, I did the free online Pre-ITT modules created by Further Forces. These gave me a taste of what skills and knowledge is needed in teaching FE. I then signed up to begin my teacher training and secured a teaching post at Grantham College while I was training. All paid for by Further Forces.

How have you found the transition?

The work levels were a bit of a shock. As an engineer in the RAF the pressure is kept off because they don’t want a plane to fall out of the sky! However, the support I got from my tutors was great. The students I teach made a real difference. They were really understanding of my situation – that I was new to teaching, so they worked with me. FE is different to schools as it is more of a partnership between the teacher and students.

What would you say to anyone thinking about teaching in FE?

I expect most people in the Forces want to do a job that makes a difference. And teaching in FE lets you do that. Through Further Forces you get to study at university, and it is all paid for, plus they help you find and secure a teaching job. The long holidays ease the blow of any loss of pay and you can see the difference you make to students everyday


Use Your Technical Skills From The Military To Teach In FE

Have you left the Military within the last five years? Then teach technical skills (e.g. IT, mechanics, electronics, catering, medical) to students aged 16+

Get free training and support to transition to teaching.