Education: Changing careers in favour of teacher training

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Statistics show more people in Yorkshire are changing careers. Susan Press meets a man who swapped his trowel for teacher training.

New statistics from national teacher recruitment body the Training and Development Agency for Schools show that nearly half of all recent inquiries in Yorkshire have been from people switching careers.

The new TDA data has been released as part of a recruitment drive headed up by people keen to pass on the message that it’s never too late to teach.

Nearly a third – 30 per cent – of recent enquirers already have management experience and many have swapped well-paid positions for the classroom.

One of them is ex-plasterer Shaun L’Amie, who threw in his trowel for the chance to teach.

The 45-year-old, who lives in Cross Gates, Leeds,is now deputy headteacher at Greenhill Primary School, Wakefield

But he quit school with no academic qualifications.

“The joke used to be that I left school with one spirit level.

“But frankly, further education was not very high on my agenda when at 16 I left school and got an apprenticeship as a plasterer.

“I got a post with the National Trust and I loved the job.

“I got to work at stately homes all over the country, including Buckingham Palace.

“I met people like Lord Lichfield at Shugborough Hall and it was also very good money, around £30,000 a year when I left.”

Despite his love of the trade, the father-of-four says he felt increasingly drawn to teaching.

“I used to go to special school assemblies and see how well the teachers engaged with kids.

“I kept thinking, I wonder if i could do that.

So in the end I decided to give it a go.”

Shaun did a Mature Access course at Park Lane College in Leeds and gained English and Maths GCSEs and a Science A level-equivalent in just one year.

He got a place at Bretton Hall teacher training college and did a four-year degree in Environmental Science.

“It took a lot of commitment. My wife had to go back to work to help support me and at first it was strange being with younger students.

At times I wondered if I’d done the right thing but teaching was something that I really wanted to do.”

Shaun’s first job was at a school in Ossett and he has risen fast through the ranks to become a deputy head.

“It might sound trite but I love working with children because you really get to make a difference.

“No two days are ever the same and you can help children realise their dreams.

The promotion prospects are also good. I’m planning to do headship exams next year but it’s not about the money.

The opportunities are endless.”

Bosses at the TDA are pleased at the growing influx of recruits with varied experience.

Paul Clarke, TDA Regional Lead for Yorkshire, said; “More and more individuals are re-thinking their career choice. This means we’re seeing an influx of people who can set inspiring examples for the young people they teach.”

More information on career opportunities in teaching is available at:

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