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Case Study

Cate Jones

Ashington, UK

PGCE Post Compulsory Education and Training (PCET)

After a brief spell working in the engineering industry, Cate Jones decided she wanted to go down the education route, using her passion for the subject to teach it within a Further Education setting. She embarked on the PGCE PCET course at Sunderland, specialising in engineering, and has already been offered her perfect role as an engineering lecturer at Newcastle College when she graduates.

I had completed a PhD in engineering and, after a brief period in industry, I realised I wanted to explore the education route. To gain some experience in the Further Education sector, I worked in learning support at Newcastle College, which cemented my desire to complete a PGCE and embark upon a career in FE in engineering.

I chose to study at the University of Sunderland because of the excellent academic staff on the PGCE PCET course. I was looking for a full-time PGCE in maths or engineering, and after contacting the team, I was extremely impressed with the depth of information I was given and how informative and approachable the staff member was. I excitedly applied based on this conversation, and another staff member who conducted my interview was able to answer all my questions, reassuring me about pursuing a PGCE in engineering as a mature student. Their knowledge of FE engineering in the North East and the University’s ties to FE establishments was impressive, and the combination of face-to-face and online learning also appealed to me.

I’ve found the PGCE PCET course to be a good mix of theory and professional practice. The face-to-face lectures are excellent, and I thoroughly enjoy the lessons. I’ve been fortunate to be placed in three teaching placements, allowing me to experience three educational settings. This has given me fantastic insight into where I’ll be best suited to work when it comes to applying for jobs. I’ve also enjoyed working with my mentors on placement, where we were able to have collaborative conversations around how I could improve my lessons, as well as relay to my mentor how the information I was learning at University could improve their lessons. During my placements, the PCET passport, particularly the Foundational Concepts, has helped me gain the skills I’ve needed throughout my journey to become a confident teacher. The initial developing and consolidating phases helped me to understand where I was in the journey and where I needed to improve to become more proficient.

Sunderland has provided other unexpected opportunities for me too, as I was awarded an Aldrin Family Foundation Scholarship through Sunderland Futures. This has been an especially rewarding 10-week project, formulating lesson plans for teachers in primary schools to teach space education.

I have received brilliant career guidance from my tutor throughout the course and have been successful in gaining a lecturing role in engineering at Newcastle College when I graduate. This is exactly the job role I hoped I would achieve upon finishing my PGCE.

The University of Sunderland is vibrant and dynamic. It has equality and diversity at the heart of its courses and is a great advocate of the North East. I have received outstanding support from staff on my course and from other parts of the University, and they offer excellent facilities and services. I have already recommended the University, and especially the PGCE PCET course, to several of my friends who are interested in teaching. I would highly encourage anybody interested to contact the University to discuss their plans.

The whole experience was thoroughly enjoyable. The lecturers have been approachable and knowledgeable, both in training me to be a teacher and in careers advice and opportunities. I feel confident that I’m up to date with pedagogical knowledge going into my first teaching role and would highly recommend the course to any future teachers.”

Published 27 June 2023

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