College’s drive to get industry professionals into teaching praised

South Essex College’s drive to recruit industry professionals into teaching has been praised by educational bodies.

The college hosted an event to showcase its Taking Teaching Further (TTF) programme to representatives from The Education & Training Foundation (ETF) and the Department for Education (DfE).

The TTF programme aims to recruit experienced professionals from industry and business into Further Education teaching roles. These professionals are able to bring their wealth of industry knowledge and experience to the classroom to enhance students’ learning experiences.

So far, the college has recruited 23 skilled professionals through the scheme in areas such as engineering, construction trades, business & finance and health & science. 

The college’s Assistant Principal Curriculum, Nikki Kelly, has spearheaded the campaign and said it has been a ‘fantastic opportunity’.

She said: “This project funded by the ETF has enabled us to offer enhanced support and guidance to people from industry who are wanting/considering stepping into teaching. It is a fantastic rewarding career to pass your skills and knowledge to the next generation of employees.”

The visit also allowed the ETF and DfE representatives to hear from some of the recruits themselves who shared their experiences.

Petrit Shala joined the college through the TTF scheme. He was previously Operations Manager at the Port of Tilbury, but is now a lecturer in IT teaching on both BTEC and T Level programmes.

He said: “I was delivering IT training but I knew the place to make a real difference was in education. I wanted to help shape future generations and the Taking Teaching Further scheme has allowed me to do it.

“The support you get is fantastic. I get one to one sessions with a teaching and learning coach, plus there are lots of regular development sessions to enhance skills such as teaching methods.”

Petrit has been so impressed with the transition into education he recommended the programme to his brother, who is now teaching. His wife has also applied.

Jenny Jarvis, Interim CEO of the Education and Training Foundation said the visit was ‘really inspiring’.

She said: “What has been achieved at South Essex College is impressive. Attracting 23 skilled professionals from industry to become teachers is no mean feat.

“What struck me most about South Essex College’s engagement was how it had thought carefully about the wraparound support that would be required to ensure it was effective. 

“It had, very clearly, gone the extra mile, with a strong focus on supporting Initial Teacher Education, and bespoke Continuing Professional Development provision to help new teachers.”

To find out more about the Taking Teaching Further programme, visit