Your Ultimate Guide to a Career in Education

Does the idea of shaping young minds appeal to you? You could start a rewarding career in education. 

Teaching is one of the oldest and most fundamental professions in the world. The ability to not only impart knowledge but also encourage deeper and critical thinking is a valuable skill and one that can help you build a rewarding career.

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The basics

Education apprenticeships typically cover junior and assistant roles.

They offer the potential for a fulfilling career. The average salary for a teacher in the UK is just shy of £40,000 a year, and 95% of newly qualified teachers find a job within six months of qualifying (National College for Teaching and Leadership).

The UK has five stages of education:

  • Early years 0- 4/5
  • Primary 4/5-11
  • Secondary 11-16
  • Further Education (FE) 16+
  • Higher Education (HE). 16+

Although ages vary slightly in different regions of the UK, children must be in full-time education when they are 4-16. Once you turn 16, it is your choice whether to continue to further and higher education. 

This system provides many opportunities for careers in education. You can find apprenticeships designed to facilitate a career at these different levels. 

Types of education apprenticeships

Learning Mentor Apprenticeships

A learning mentor apprenticeship is a 12-month course that encompasses level 1 safeguarding, and sector-specific learning and guidance to help apprentices become ethical and effective mentors.

Level 2 Early Years Practitioner

An excellent entry to working in education, Apprentices require no previous experience and can work in an early years environment under supervision.

The main duties are ensuring the 0-5 children in your care are safe and happy, and supporting their development through the planning and delivery of educational play and activities.

Level 3 Early Years Educator

Level 3 gives the apprentice more responsibilities as they are counted in the staff-to-children ratio in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) guidelines.

At this level, apprentices’ duties may include feeding and changing babies, preparing the environment and helping with displays and resources. They may lead activities, such as baking, music and crafts.

Teaching Assistant Apprenticeship

Teaching assistant apprenticeships are advanced, level 3 apprenticeships from specialist providers. Apprentices work a typical school week, Monday – Friday 8 am – 4 pm, while studying for a level 3 teaching assistant qualification.

Teacher Degree Apprenticeship

A new teaching apprenticeship is set to be launched in Autumn 2024, designed to equip current and future teachers and teaching assistants with the skills they need to teach the core subjects, such as maths and English.

The aim is to attract more diverse candidates, such as those who cannot take time out of paid work to study for a teaching degree.

Entry requirements?

The basic entry requirements for a UK apprentice are:

  • You must be 16 or older
  • You must not be in full-time education
  • You must be a UK resident or have the right to work in the UK

Education apprentices must also have 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent, including English and maths.

You should enjoy academics and be confident in making reports and keeping records such as children’s developmental journeys. You will need excellent people skills and hold a classroom’s attention.

Apprentice Levels

Apprenticeships are divided into levels depending on the duration and qualification you are working towards. Qualifications that you could earn include

Level 2 (intermediate) – equivalent to 5 GCSEs (grades 9 to 4)

Level 2 education apprenticeships may be run with your school and help you work towards low-level mentoring, coaching and teaching qualifications. 

Level 3 (advanced) – equivalent to 2 A-levels

Providers such as INSPIRE ATA LIMITED offer level 3 apprentices the chance to become teaching assistants by working in a school and supporting qualified teachers in classrooms.  

Levels 4 and 5 (higher) – equivalent to a foundation degree 

Companies such as ATC Training offer level 5 diplomas in Education and Training (RQF).

Levels 6 and 7 (degree) – you’ll get a full bachelor’s and/or master’s degree. You read that correctly. Some higher apprenticeships enable you to earn a full degree, often in less time, without going to university.

As noted, teacher degree apprenticeships are being introduced this year led by organisations such as The South Farnham Educational Trust. 

Degree Apprenticeships in Education

Teacher degree apprenticeships have yet to be made available but have been approved. Apprentices will work in a school while working towards qualified teacher status (QTS) by studying for a degree. Not only does this mean teacher degree apprentices will be in full-time work and gaining valuable experience in a classroom, but they’ll also have no student debts when they finish the course. 

The UK teacher degree apprenticeship will be available to those training to be primary or secondary school teachers. Unlike traditional teacher training, candidates will not need to already have a degree as they will gain both a degree and QTS. 

Recruitment begins in Autumn 2024, with training set to start in autumn 2025.

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Sector Spotlight: In what industries can I become an apprentice?

You may think that an education apprentice would be restricted in terms of the careers open to them. However, education is a huge sector, incorporating a variety of roles, from nursery caretakers, sports coaches and teachers to librarians, educational psychologists, mentors, welfare officers and careers advisors. Education isn’t just for children, and their are lots of different learning and development roles in all types of business for those who love to teach.

If you want to make a difference and help people develop, an education apprenticeship could be the ideal choice.