We’re well versed in the benefits of work experience for young people, but what about the teachers?
Great teachers not only prepare their students for passing exams, but for succeeding in life beyond school. However, spending their career in the classroom risks leaving teachers out of touch with industry developments. Inspire!’s new Industry Insights programme gave teachers the chance to spend a week in a workplace, gaining up-to-date knowledge and experience relevant to the subjects they teach.
Business studies tutor Scott, who teaches at Westminster Kingsway College, spent a week at software development company Softwire. He met with a range of staff to find out about their roles, attended meetings, and took part in a conference call with an important client.
Since taking part, Scott has put together resources and case studies for his students. By sharing his experience and teaching new lessons on organisational structure, marketing techniques and motivational theory, he hopes they’ll be well-equipped for a future in business.
While he still has a passion for teaching, spending time at a forward-thinking business gave Scott a new perspective on work: “I learnt so much about how the company motivates its staff, how it stays competitive. Now I’m able to pass on my learning, to make the learning of my students more relevant. The week gave me the opportunity to reflect on my own life and future – the company is so special, the environment so geared to individual job satisfaction.”
“I wish I could do this every year as it reinforced just how isolated teachers can become…I will always try to give my best in and out of the classroom, but this requires real-world knowledge of business. It helped, of course, that all the staff at Softwire were so accessible and supportive. It is an extraordinary organisation and if at the very least I am able to convey this to students and raise their aspirations then I feel it would be “job done”, let alone all the benefits I hope to accrue from developing more relevant learning materials.”
Softwire employees praised the teacher’s enthusiasm throughout his placement. Ying, Project Manager at Softwire, commented “He’s clearly very keen to get a deep understanding of the business beyond just the surface processes and tasks. We’ve found it really interesting so far!
We always enjoy working with Inspire! Your programs and participants are always great, so that we know it’ll be worth putting in the effort to help out.”
The programme has been received positively so far, with 100% of participating teachers agreeing that they developed personal and professional skills, and knowledge of a new sector. 85% believed it raised the aspirations of their students, better equipped them for work and created new employer links for the school. Find out more about Industry Insights and how to get involved here.