Course Manager - Teacher Education (Full-time)
Ashley works in the College’s Teacher Education department. He teaches and manages the PGCE programme along with a number of other higher education courses run in partnership with the University of Bedfordshire. With his background in Performing Arts, Ashley always knew that teaching was what he wanted to focus on.
“I was working at another college before I started here, as a Head of Department for Music and Performing Arts. I knew I wanted to teach and in 2014 I applied for my first teaching role here at Bedford College because it had a good reputation for teaching and could allow me to take a change of direction. I am part of a team of three, but also part of the much wider College team.
Alongside teaching I observe lessons across all subjects both in the College and out in the community, including in schools, prisons and work-based learning environments. There is some admin work involved and I interview new students for the Teacher Education courses too.
The College gives you flexibility in terms of how you want to work and deliver your work – there is an ethos of trust because they believe people come to work to do a good job.
I feel supported, valued and listed to in my role. There was also great support when I started here. I was assigned a mentor, and the College’s Big Picture event is a great introduction to the College as a whole.”
Trainee Lecturer – Electrical Installation (Part-time)
After working in a variety of roles from floristry to beauty therapy, working for a food and drink manufacturer to being on a construction site, Donna enrolled on to a part-time Electrical Installation course here at Bedford College to become a qualified electrician. A few years later, she was invited back to the College to embark on a teaching career.
I teach Level 1 and Level 2 Electrical Installation students here at the College, while studying for my CertEd (Teaching in Post Compulsory Education qualification) at the University of Bedfordshire. I started in September 2015 and am really enjoying it.
Everyone was very welcoming when I joined as a member of staff and the facilities, particularly the refectory and the gym, are very useful.
When I first stood in front of a big class I was nervous, but it’s surprising how soon it becomes second nature to you. As a career, the hours of teaching fit in well with my family commitments, and every day is different, which is great.
For anyone thinking of going into teaching for the first time, I would say give it a go. It’s not like any other job, you can’t really prepare yourself for it, but it is very rewarding.”
GCSE English Teacher (Full-time)
Laura joined the team in September 2015 as an English Teacher. English and maths are part of every full-time student’s study programme, so if they come to College without the required GCSE grades, they have to study and resit their GCSEs here at College. Laura is based in the Centre for the Creative Arts department at the College.
“I was keen to work within the Creative Arts department as I really liked the ethos when I came for interview. You could tell the whole College was going in the right direction and there are also plenty of progression opportunities, which is very attractive.
I studied for my degree in Education & English at Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln before completing my PGCE (teaching qualification) at the University of Huddersfield. I had worked at another College before moving here and I have found there to be an open and supportive environment – you can approach anyone and it is acknowledged when you put extra work in.
That’s probably one of the best things about working here – having your efforts recognised. A ‘well done’ or a ‘thank you’ makes all the difference.”
Leigh-Ann had already worked in education when she started in Reception at Bedford College. She had been working as a supervisor at an adult learning centre and hopes to combine her new role with studying for a teacher education qualification here at the College.
“I decided to apply for this role at the College because of the convenient hours and the fact that there was not quite as much responsibility involved compared to my previous role. This flexibility was important for me because I have a two year old child and I also knew that I wanted to train towards a teaching career. In between working I am hoping to start studying to teach key skills and maths at GCSE level.
No two days are the same on Reception. It’s a very customer-focused role which is perfect for me as I love meeting different people. I’ll meet and greet, answer student queries, sort visitor parking, pass requests on to various teams and answer emails.
The best thing about working at Bedford College is the people. I have not had a bad experience with anyone and it’s great to see people you know around the college.
For anyone thinking of applying to Bedford College I’d say be prepared for a challenge, but also a very rewarding experience. You’ll be joining a team of dedicated and hard-working people all striving to be the best.”
Public Services Instructor (Part-time)
Richard came to Bedford College from another FE college, but has not always been in education. His passion for working outdoors has seen him enjoy a number of exciting roles and he is now passing his passion on to his students, teaching all levels of Public Services students here at the College.
“I had taught Outdoor Education for some time, before a break in instructing saw me work on the construction of the Go Ape courses and also live and work out in Bermuda. Back in England I took a job teaching Outdoor Education and Sport at another FE college.
I was keen to apply for this job at Bedford College as I had heard good things about it from some friends. I am based in the sports department and frequently take students out for canoeing and kayaking.
The team here is more relaxed than I have experienced before, so it was easy to fit in and everyone was very welcoming, but also really keen about what they do which is great. Another thing that has stood out for me is that the College invests in their staff which makes you feel more valued and appreciated. For instance, I’ve already been put through my minibus training and first aid training. It’s a place where things talked about in your interview do actually become a reality.”
Facilities Coordinator at The Bedford Sixth Form (Full-time)
Sam moved to The Bedford Sixth Form from our main College site where he had also been part of the Estates & Facilities team. Before that, he’d been living and working in London for a sports charity teaching young people in CV writing and leadership skills, as well as football coaching. Sam has also served in the British Army for 12 years and is a qualified teacher having previously taught PE and English at middle school level.
“When I was made redundant from my job in London, we moved to Bedford and to start with I was working part-time at Luton Town Football Club. I applied for a job at Bedford College because I like problem solving and variety. Whether it’s broken heating or a lost mobile phone, I like to be able to solve things.
In my new role at The Bedford Sixth Form I manage two other members of staff to coordinate the day-to-day running of the building. We share the late and early shifts and the first thing I’ll do is check the system for any new requests and answer my emails.
I’ve worked in supervisory positions before, but solely in security, so this role is great in that it encompasses many different aspects.”
Centre Administrator Apprentice (Full-time)
Valentina started at the College in 2013 as a Level 2 apprentice. She then progressed on to the Level 3 Apprenticeship programme and in September 2015 became the first apprentice to enrol on to the new Level 4 Apprenticeship in Business & Administration. Her role as Centre Administrator in the Electrical Installation department also sees Valentina work across the College covering the work of other Centre Administrators where required.
“I have found Apprenticeships to be a really good way into work, and the best thing about working at Bedford College is the numerous opportunities you have to progress both academically and professionally.
An average working day for me will include receiving calls from students and reporting any absence to teaching staff, sending emails, photocopying resources for classes, doing the post run, and filling out transfer and withdrawal forms. As part of my Apprenticeship, I am assessed on a continual basis through the work that I produce as part of my role.
I work in a really good team and we all get on well. In fact, across College you get to know everyone, so you are working within a much wider team as well.
For anyone thinking of applying for an Apprenticeship, I would tell them to remember that you can always do better than you think you can; some people look at a job and think they can’t do it, but they may just surprise themselves.”