by Tom Jackson
When I first found the Community Teaching Facilitator (CTF) role advertised online in 2013, I was still studying at university. The role involved delivering bespoke further education programmes for learners with additional needs.
I hadn’t considered a role in education previously but the blogs on the website caught my interest.
Launched into a new career
Before I knew it I was part of the team, accessing a wide range of interesting training ready to start my new job at the beginning of term. Training covered key topics such as Autism, Communication Strategies, Personal Care, Educational Practice and my favourite: shadowing an experienced CTF working with a learner for a few days to see how everything actually came together.
Gaining a qualification
I was a CTF for around 18 months and I really enjoyed the variety the role offered. I ran gym sessions, supported communication skills and worked with other local charities and work experience placements. Each day I got to see the young people I work with achieve their goals, and celebrate their achievements with them. During this time I was also supported to complete my Level 3 Qualification in Education and Training. Macintyre really value you and invest in your development.
After 18 months I was successful in applying for a secondment as a Programme Coordinator. Here I worked as part of a team of managers, responsible for both overseeing education programmes and line-managing a team of CTFs. I really enjoyed the flexibility the No Limits model offered here; I could ensure every programme was adapted to meet the individual needs of learners. Person-centred approaches really came into play and the Programme Coordinator team get to influence the culture of the provision.
After a year I had another secondment in the Programme Coordinator role but in a different part of the country.
It was great to see how the same values and approaches are present across all of MacIntyre. During this time I took part in specialist Positive Behaviour Support training and also completed a Level 5 Qualification in Leadership and Management, further developing my practice.
After returning to Oxfordshire 12 months later, I began to work on my Post Graduate Certificate of Education with Oxford Brookes. (Macintyre now offer a level 5 Diploma of Education through our own specialist trainers). It was great to gain more skills and knowledge, which I could use to improve the quality of education we offer.
I completed this qualification just before the pandemic and the skills I gained were key in helping me adapt our provision to the constraints of lock down Britain! Ensuring that despite the changes, there was something on offer to all learners that would both offer reassurance in a difficult time and help them to continue to work towards their own goals.
A new challenge and a promotion
Not long after this I had the opportunity to apply for the Programme Manager role. This was a new challenge, with responsibility not only for the quality of education and the oversight of the staff team, but also to help inform procedures across No Limits. Ensuring that we continue to offer the excellent quality education and that we develop our community partnerships and ties with other Macintyre services.
I wouldn't have it any other way
I thought that working in education would be a short-term role, but it has grown into a career I am passionate about. No two days are ever the same; just as you establish a routine something will change, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Each academic year is just as new and exciting as the last, it is a real privilege to be a part of it, and I am already eager to see what the next one will bring!