Career Progression in the Further Education and Training Sector

Suzanne Straw

06 August 2017

In March 2017, NFER was commissioned by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) and its membership body, the Society for Education and Training (SET), to support the development of, as well as analyse and report on, a survey of career progression within the Further Education and Training sector. The survey was completed by 796 respondents.

Key Findings

  • The most common reason for joining the Further Education and Training sector is enjoyment in working with young and adult learners, inspiring the next generation, helping them realise their potential and transforming lives.
  • The most popular definition of career progression is gaining greater experience/expertise/ qualifications/working at higher levels in teaching one’s chosen subject.
  • By far the most effective enabling factor for career progression is gaining a formal teaching or training qualification, ranked one by over a third of respondents.
  • The most significant barrier to career progression is workload and lack of time preventing take-up of continuing professional development (CPD) or higher-level study, reported by half of the respondents.
  • Respondents provided a range of actions and support regarding how barriers could be overcome including: undertaking CPD/training/courses/professional development which was inspired, organised and financed by the individual; and exploring ways to improve oneself, self-belief, self-motivation and being determined to succeed.
  • In terms of career progression over the next one to two years, a quarter of respondents ranked their main priority as developing expertise in their current role. Other key priorities included: taking on greater management responsibilities; and developing sector/subject knowledge.
  • A third of respondents reported that gaining (further) on-the-job experience; undertaking course(s); and having support of a mentor/coach/line manager would support their career progression.
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