In spring 2017 we carried out one of the largest ever surveys in the further education recruitment sector, gathering first hand opinion from over 750 FE professionals about the challenge of staffing further education in the new era.
One overwhelming sentiment heard time and again was the frustration that a career in FE is simply not a long term one. 38% of the FE professionals we surveyed don’t expect to be working in education in 2 years, and 64% expect to leave within five years. Lack of progression was equalled by poor pay, heavy workload and low morale.
A key driver in improving staff retention in education is cultivating the mindset within teammates that the career path is a long and rewarding one that deserves the effort of change to improve it, rather than leaving it.
The importance of CPD as a retention tool
Our army of responding FE professionals told us that they compare their career path opportunities to those in higher education: demanding staff investment parallel to HE colleges’ regular Training and Planning (TAP) days, scholarly days, college-wide symposia, colloquia and conferences.
There was wide demand for Preparing to Teach in the Life Long Sector (PTLLS) courses on a wider scale to permit educated professional development, and weekly time allocated for Teaching Diplomas. They demand the view of their role to change to a developmental one: one of strong CPD and academic enhancement.
No time to teach the teachers
The Education and Training Foundation reports that around 60% of FE teachers spend no time on formal training.
Whilst this could be because of the high proportion of staff who work part time, it raises the question of what suitable CPD processes could now be explored for such a large proportion of the workforce. A huge 60% of college staff work part time, as do more than 80% of local authority and third sector FE providers' staff. (Frontier Economics, p5)
Liberate your leaders
Continued Professional Development is critical now more than ever for the further education professionals who will bear the weight of devising and delivering the high-quality learning experiences that will transform the next generation into an internationally competitive British economy.
A starting point may be for colleges to outsource other responsibilities, such as recruitment, to outside partners to free up time internally for leadership to focus on the CPD and career development strategies that keep staff on board.
Where are the best free CPD resources? Find out here.