Transition to Teach is currently recruiting for its 2021 programme beginning in September, a Department for Education funded initiative which enables eligible career changers, those at risk of redundancy and early retirees to train for new teaching careers.

Data has also been released from Transition to Teach’s 2020 cohort. 105 candidates made up the 2020 group, bringing it to over 1500 years’ work experience into the teaching profession. The majority of 2020 participants trained to teach maths (37%), followed by modern foreign languages (17%), chemistry (10%), physics (8%) and computer science (6%).

Transition to Teach utilises the Hogan Personality Assessment, identifying the participant strengths and help support with potential challenges they may face in teaching. Analysis of data from the Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI) across the two Transition to Teach cohorts (2020 and 2019) has revealed that the main motivation for candidates to move into teaching is the desire for a career where they feel they are helping and supporting others, or adding to the greater good of society.

This desire to positively impact society was a key reason for moving into teaching for Fateha Uddin, 26, from Keighley, who studied for a BSc in biomedical science before embarking on a career in retail. Fateha undertook her school centred initial teacher training (SCITT) in September 2019 supported by Transition to Teach, and started her newly qualified teacher (NQT) year at an all-girls school in Bradford in September 2020.

“I was always interested in science at school so a degree in biomedical science was the natural choice for me. But after my degree, I ended up going into retail and became a floor manager for a large retail chain. I’m now teaching biology in KS4 and KS5 and teaching in all sciences up to KS3. Personally, my work-life balance is so much better now.

“The girls in the school I teach in are largely from an Eastern European or Asian background. Growing up, I didn’t have those strong female role models, and that has influenced my desire to be a role model for the students I teach.

“The best bit about teaching is the children, they are bonkers! You really have to hold in your laughter at the things they say sometimes. I also really like the supportive environment in teaching, it’s so different to what I was used to in retail.”

Transition to Teach participants receive support through to the end of their first year as newly qualified teachers. Kiren Azam, 29, from Bradford is a former immigration lawyer who is training to become a secondary French teacher. The opportunity to help and support young people was a key motivator for Kiren to move into teaching: “Personally, I have always respected teaching as a profession but, when I was growing up, I’m not sure others around me felt the same way.

“The interesting thing is that I have felt a lot more supported and appreciated since starting my teacher training than I ever experienced in my law career.

“Transition to Teach has helped me to understand how I can transfer my existing skills into teaching and progress. My guidance and development adviser has years of experience in the education sector and her advice is invaluable. I also like that the support extends to assistance with my assignments which I need to complete alongside my practical training.

“What I will bring to teaching is my experience of working in a high-pressure environment. I know that I will go above and beyond for my students, helping them inside the classroom and beyond. I hope to inspire my students as I was once inspired, such as by my art teacher Andria Zafirakou, who was awarded the Global Teacher's Award in 2018 - the first UK teacher to win this award.  In Brent, London, where I grew up, Andria would stand outside the school gates, greeting pupils in their mother tongues, she would challenge police officers if she felt students were mistreated or misheard. That school is now within the top 5% of schools in the UK.”

“The experience I had as Andria’s pupil is one of the main reasons I was so sure I wanted to become a teacher. My aim is to work with pupils in disadvantaged areas, so that I can support and inspire my pupils in the same way.”

Further insight from the HPI data found that, as well as being motivated to help others, candidates moving into teaching are motivated to work with the latest research, data and technology, enjoying creativity and innovation. Sowmya Mony, 33, from Sheffield, plans to use her background as a software developer to inspire young women into STEM: “Some people might have the perception that only boys like gaming and computing, and I hope to use my role as a teacher and my past industry experience to encourage more girls into STEM subjects. In my old career, I used to volunteer for projects to encourage women into tech, helping them to code, so this will be similar in that way.

“When I was younger, I was lucky in that my brother was into computers and did an undergraduate degree in computer science. Computers and coding was quite normal to me but not everyone has that. Teaching is one way that I can give back and share all that I have learned, hopefully inspiring others.”

Programme Manager at Transition to Teach, Rebecca Waring said: “As we recruit for our 2021 cohort of trainee teachers, it’s incredibly positive to see that participants are moving into teaching because they want to make a difference in the lives of young people. They’re ready to be the role models that young people need, challenging perceptions that might exist about certain subjects or professions and inspiring the future generation.

“Our service is there to help people work out if teaching is for them, and if they choose to proceed, then we support with the practical tasks like finding an initial teacher training provider, support through placements and even job applications when the time comes. If you would like to learn more about Transition to Teach, get in touch to see if you are eligible and you could be starting your teaching journey this September.”