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After redundancy: making the move from retail to teaching

Transition to teach

October 18 2020 - There are 7.6 million jobs at risk in the UK at the moment says data from McKinsey and a large amount of these - 1.7 million - are in retail. If you work in retail, you may be one of the many facing redundancy, furlough or reduced hours. The question is, what next? For some, redundancy is the catalyst to realise their ambitions of becoming teachers, supported by Department for Education-funded Transition to Teach from Cognition Education UK. Here are 6 reasons to consider training as a teacher with support from Transition to Teach.

1. Youll be in good company

Retail is one of the top 5 industries that are contributing trainee teachers to the teaching profession in the north-west and midlands say Transition to Teach. Alongside London, these regions have the biggest increase in people making new unemployment benefit claims as a result of the recession. So, rather than thinking initial teacher training will be full of fresh faced graduates, chances are there will be a range of people from all walks of life ready to take the journey into education alongside you.

2. Its a programme specifically for those at risk of redundancy

Charlotte Hand

Charlotte Hand

In 2020, Transition to Teach changed their focus from career changers to supporting people specifically at risk of redundancy. Being made redundant can be extremely difficult, it can affect your confidence and wellbeing as you consider what to do next. But its also an opportunity to do something new, like Charlotte Hand, 48:

"My former role was as a client relationship manager for a large retail solutions company. I heard late last year that the company was going to close down. I knew I could get another job but it became the catalyst for me to put in my UCAS application for initial teacher training. My HR director gave me the contact for Transition to Teach and they helped me through the interview."

3. Transferable skills are valued

Often the biggest worry about becoming a teacher after redundancy is that of starting again from scratch, and whilst training as a teacher is a return to learning, as an experienced individual youll also have significant life experience and transferable skills to take with you. Head of Programmes at Cognition UK, Yvonne Malpass explains. "To go from a steady job in an industry you know to being at risk of redundancy is scary, as is the thought of starting a whole new career. All of the individuals we are supporting are degree educated and bring a whole host of transferable skills from their previous careers into the classroom. Their extensive knowledge and experience will be integral to their ability to inspire students."

4. There is a range of support on offer

Training as a teacher is a big life change, especially when youre transferring from a completely different industry, such as retail. With Transition to Teach, youll receive a range of support right from when you first get in contact through to the end of your first year as a newly qualified teacher. Initially, that might mean support around finding the right course or funding sources. As you undertake your initial training year, it might mean help with assessments and in your first year of teaching it could be mentoring and advice when you need it. Over 100 people will be supported by Transition to Teach in 2020.

5. Theres a demand for teachers

If youre investing in a new career in teaching, then you may find it useful to know that there is a shortage in certain subjects such as maths, modern foreign languages and chemistry. Data from the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) shows that there has been a 16% increase in initial teacher training applications in 2020, which they hope will go some way to meeting the growing demand for teachers. Maybe, like Charlotte, and some of the other Transition to Teach candidates, you went into retail after a degree in a completely different area. Now could be the time to make that degree work for you in a new, exciting career in teaching.

6. Making a difference to childrens lives

Perhaps the best reason to consider training as a teacher is the opportunity to make a difference to young peoples lives, using your career experience to show children the various routes they too can take in life. This is something 2020 trainee teacher Charlotte is looking forward to doing:

"It is hard to imagine a 21 year old me advising an 18 year old about career choices, whereas now, with life experience, I can talk about all of the career opportunities that languages can bring from experience. As I get older, having a career that matters is more important to me. In my old career, I was involved in making cosmetic displays and whilst it was interesting, it was an invisible industry with not much of a chance to make a difference. By training as a teacher, Im giving something back to my old self."

Redundancy is an end, but it can also be a beginning. The move from retail or another sector to teaching may seem like a big jump, and it is, but there are programmes and people out there ready and waiting to support you on your way.



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