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Use your skills to inspire the next generation

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 14 Dec 2022

Have you ever thought about the different routes your engineering career could take you? If you find yourself wondering what your next step could be, teaching might be the way forward. Teaching can give you the opportunity to work with young people and change their perspectives on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects, whilst gaining new qualifications with great work benefits. 

We need professionals like you to inspire the next generation of engineers. Your wealth of knowledge and experience can help us do exactly that. By retraining as a teacher, you’re not only learning new things and adding to your own portfolio, but you’re helping young people find their future within engineering.

We can provide you with one-to-one support and tailored advice, so you’ll have all the guidance you need, in order to reach your goals. We’re currently looking for physics teachers to join our programme and help create the engineers of tomorrow. 

We spoke to Ruth and Chris, who have taken the time to share their advice and experiences of re-training, where they are now and how you can kickstart your own teaching career. 

Ruth’s journey into teacher training

Get into teaching - in article image

After a 25-year career in engineering and the civil service, working in environmental policy, Ruth took the leap and decided to start teacher training with the Engineers Teach Physics scheme, which she is still participating in. She took the time to share some of her experiences and why she decided to make the move into teaching. 

"As part of my research, I attended some online events about career changing into teaching. Volunteering as a tutor was also suggested, and after I’d spent some time doing volunteer maths tutoring, I knew I’d enjoy supporting young people in a classroom environment.

I chose Engineers Teach Physics because it provides specialist subject training and is designed for people from STEM backgrounds who want to actively help students to connect their learning to real world issues and to science and engineering careers. The course providers actively seek schools that suit trainees’ individual circumstances, and I was pleased to be placed at the local school where I had been tutoring.”

Engineers from all backgrounds have very valuable skills that can be transferable. If you are thinking about teaching, skills like communication, presentation skills, building relationships and prioritisation are massively valued. Ruth has already found opportunities to connect her teaching syllabus to societal and sustainability issues, for example linking material science to green building design, and promoting science and engineering careers.    

"I'm really pleased with my choice of training route - I've been able to be part of the physics department in my placement school from the very beginning of the September term, which has really helped me adapt to the school environment and culture.

The learning curve can be steep, with opportunities to teach whole classes from early on, but the teaching timetable builds up gradually so there is enough time to reflect and observe experienced teachers, as well as getting to know my students. I feel well supported by the team at my course provider, with weekly training days to learn teaching techniques, theory and subject knowledge and form a friendly network with other trainees.”

The more great physics teachers we have in the classroom today, the more young people will have the opportunity to grow up with an interest in physics.

Project Engineer turned science teacher

Chris Wallis successfully made the move from product engineer to teacher and is imparting his wisdom to the next generation of engineers. So why did he decide to get into teaching?

“Having enough experience to answer, ‘why do I need to learn this?’ is invaluable.” says Chris. “I have found that the skills I learnt during my engineering career have stood me in good stead for teaching. I can think of many occasions as an engineer where others have looked to me for guidance, expertise and decision making – students are not dissimilar in that they look at a teacher as the expert in the room for that same guidance.”

Chris draws from his knowledge of real-world examples and experiences to teach children the connection between engineering and the science and maths they are learning in school. 

“Children enjoy challenges and solving problems. Coming from an engineering background where the job is exactly that means I can relate the learning to the students’ interests while passing on the valuable skills and thinking needed to overcome the challenges society faces today and, in the future."

By utilising his IET STEM Teacher Membership, he has had access to a range of resources to use in the classroom that will get kids excited about STEM and connect with a global network of engineers and teachers.

Chris is passionate about his teaching and actively encourages other engineers to consider pursuing a career in teaching. Whether that be now or later on in their engineering careers. 

“You’ll help shape lives, open minds and unlock students’ confidence to consider a career in engineering or technology.”

Why get into teaching?

We need inspiring individuals to take their passion for physics, engineering and technology and turn it into something amazing. Young minds are missing out on the opportunity to get a deeper understanding of the world around them, engineering is everywhere, but we need to show them. Even if these children don’t end up in an engineering career, these subjects bring a unique and innovative perspective that can lead them to great things, whatever they choose to do. 

If you’re interested to find out more, and get one step closer to the classroom, speak to one of Teacher Training Advisers for free 1-2-1 support by calling 0800 389 2500 or search ‘Get into Teaching’.