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Explore Learning is a national network of learning centres providing maths and English tuition to children aged 5-14, designed to improve knowledge, confidence and enjoyment of learning. Children become members and attend regularly once or twice a week. Since they opened their first centre in 2001, over 40,000 children have joined Explore and they now have 80 centres in operation all over the UK.
Name: Emily Wilson
Job Title: Graduate Recruitment Manager - Explore Learning
University: University of Portsmouth
Course: Creative Arts & Media
Name: Melissa Pitt
Job Title: Centre Director - Explore Learning
University: Brunel University
Course: Psychology Bsc (4yr)
Graduation Year: 2010
"…The role is very people focused, we are looking for people who can instantly build rapport…"
What competencies do you like to see in candidates?
We look for people who will be positive role models for children. One of the most important things are interpersonal skills, whether they're confident, can build rapport and show enthusiasm. We also look for them to have strong academic backgrounds from GCSEs to degree level.
Can you talk us through the application process?
They start by submitting a full application which consists of a cover letter, application form and CV. If they are unsuccessful at this point we always provide constructive feedback outlining why. If successful they will progress to a telephone interview or face to face interview at one of our centres and the final stage is an assessment day at our Head Office.
What is the most common mistake you see in an application that leads to candidates being rejected?
Candidates often rush their applications and don't tailor them. People who give very brief generic answers to the application form questions tend to really undersell themselves and not draw fully on their transferable experiences.
What is the main piece of advice you would give a graduate entering the sector?
The role is very people focused so we want to see that candidates have the confidence and ability to really sell themselves. We are looking for people to come into the business and promote our centres so we need them to be able to sell their skills first.
What's the main challenge graduates face when they start?
It's quite overwhelming sometimes. They come into a management position and they are trying to juggle all aspects of the role. They might find the sales side of the role difficult as they were originally interested in teaching.
Where do you see company in two years' time?
We currently plough our profits back into opening new centres; by March 2014 we will be opening our first centre abroad, in Dallas Texas. As well as international expansion we are looking to launch a further 15-20 new centres each year in the UK.
How did you find your graduate job in Education?
I used advanced searches to help match my skills to job specifications. Using keywords from my degree I would find jobs that were more applicable and I knew that I could get.
Why do you think you were successful at Explore Learning?
I was tutoring at Explore before I applied for the full time role. When I attended the Assessment Day I realised there were candidates from all different experiences and backgrounds. I did modules in child psychology and development with my degree but also had some project management work with BT which involved working in more of a business environment.
What do you actually do?
I work 5 days a week and during the day we run workshops, speak to parents, arrange advertising and marketing and generally see to the needs of the business, after 3pm we open for our members and I'll be tutoring as well as mentoring part time staff and chatting to parents.
What skills do you need?
People might be amazing at maths but can't explain it to a child. If they've got the mentality and the patience, you can take it from there. We find at Explore that you get a lot of different people, but they all have similar mind sets and attitudes.
What is the best thing about your job?
What I find most rewarding is when you can track how much progress a child has made. When you get the chance to sit down and help someone with their handwriting or times tables. If not that, it's when we do workshops in schools. We take a class of thirty or so for an hour and make maths exciting for them. They want hugs and high fives at the end!
What is the worst thing about your job?
I'd say time management. You can be tutoring 6 pupils at a time and having to juggle the business side of things. As a Centre Director you have to be aware of all 320 children and what their needs are.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
We are always striving to get our staff to the next level. I am looking at getting involved with the curriculum, more training and adding to my own skill set. I'd potentially like to launch a new centre, to source the demand and establish a centre in a community.
What advice would you give to graduates applying to Explore Learning?
It's not about the degree or work background, but the skills you can offer. We get CVs here from people who want to be tutors. One thing we note is when a CV or covering letter is tailored to the role. We get CVs that are too generic and don't show why that person would be good at the role.
If you want to find out more about Explore learning, please take a look at their minisite.
Ranked 17 of 40 sectors
The popularity index ranks the sectors graduates chose most frequently during registration since 2000.
Average salary for jobs in Education & Teaching compared to the average salary for all jobs posted to graduate-jobs.com
Percentage of graduates who studied a degree related to Education & Teaching that have found relevant work since 2012: 96%
Teaching plays a vital role in people's development. Whether it was helping you discover that passion that has stayed with you throughout your academic career or that teacher that gave you that extra push to help you succeed. A career in teaching can come in a variety of forms and no longer is it a career graduates fall back on. Graduates that want to go in to teaching know it's for the long run.
If candidates want to pursue the traditional classroom route of education, it is important to have an excellent degree classification. This must be in a related field for teaching. For example, degrees in English, science or maths are perfect for education at primary and secondary level, while a degree in design might be a wasted speciality in a primary school. With the field becoming more and more competitive, excellent academic credentials are required. A 2:1 classification or higher, although some accept 2:2, would be sufficient to be accepted onto a postgraduate qualification.
Working in any educational sphere, evidence of experience with children is a must. Examples of this could be that candidates have volunteered in local children's initiative or have previously worked at a nursery. Proving to employers or admissions tutors that you can handle and communicate with children can certainly improve your chances of proceeding to the next stage. One of the key things about having previous work experience with children is being able to understand them. Candidates must know how children behave and how to get them on side.
If candidates do not want to go into teaching a classroom full and prefer the personal approach, tutoring can be a good option. While it might be difficult to make a career, it gives candidates the possibility to explore one-on-one teaching. A lot of this has to be done off candidates' own back. They must prove to parents with qualifications, experience and personality what they can offer pupils. However, a good review spreading around the school gates can lead to plenty of pupils and opportunity.
To begin a different career with an education degree in another field, you need to demonstrate the versatility of what you can offer. While it might take further study from where you are now, you're not going to have start from square one. To become a counsellor, for example, you might need to have a solid grasp of the theory and practices but the main skills are there. A great way to start is to begin by volunteering at centres and charities that might require volunteering counsellors.
There are many careers available that are not directly or wholly educational but require this kind of outlook. To begin a career in the field of education, candidates need to demonstrate the versatility of what they can offer. This might mean harnessing educational skills, such as communicating complex ideas, and seeing where else they could be beneficial.
For example, one route that can be taken in the field of education is running or working at a nursery or afterschool education centre, like Explore Learning. These often give graduates the opportunity to teach children but also manage a business as well. This might appeal more to the candidate that does not want to be just teaching from the front of the class and get something different out of their employment.
For these kinds of career paths, candidates need to strike the balance between education and business skills. They must prove to employers that they can understand how businesses function and that they have the skills to manage one. While on the other hand, they must have evidence to prove to employers that they can work with children to enhance their learning. Experience is usually the best way to prove this, it could have been working in retail or being in charge of a business operation while a part of a university society. Career progression in this sector can be very profitable and allow successful candidates a chance to really be involved in educational needs outside of the national curriculum.
A different option that might be considered is counselling. To become a counsellor you would need to have a solid grasp of the theories and practices, this could come from a psychology degree. A great way to start is by volunteering at centres and charities that need a specific skill set. With something like counselling, candidates can utilise skills such as communication, setting out structured plans and educational techniques to enhance the work they do with attendees.
Student welfare has a variety of options at differing levels. It can include working with students at higher education levels and dealing with financial or legal issues. Developing these skills is useful if candidates want to revert back into education at a later stage, armed with relevant skills picked up from counselling or student welfare. For these types of roles interpersonal and communication skills are an imperative. Knowledge of procedure is important too, especially when dealing with visas or benefits.
Local authorities often have educational jobs surrounding child engagement, participation and coordinating initiatives between councils and schools. These can be rewarding jobs dealing with education systems and organisations without being contained to the classroom. In real terms, this might include leading classes when they visit schools to teach children about a new council or government programme. This gives candidates the option to teach something they are passionate about to lots of different people across the country.
One more way that you can be involved in education, without being a traditional classroom teacher, is by working in museums or galleries. This requires specialist knowledge of the topic and subject matter, so that candidates are able to lead tours and deal with questions from visitors. Usually it would be something that you specialised in at university. This would be very useful career for history students and allow them to learn more about their passions. For this, skills such as informative presenting and expert knowledge in the subject are required.
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