Can I take a PGCE to teach the sixth form? And how do I move into risk management?

Sixth form training

Q. I am having difficulty finding information about training to teach at sixth form level - post 16. Can I take a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) to do this?

A. It isn't surprising you've had some difficulty - this is an area where changes are being made and many in the business are hoping qualifications will be made transferable between sixth forms in schools, sixth form colleges and further education colleges - all the places where post compulsory education is actually carried out. At the moment, though, it looks as if this is unlikely to happen. At present, if you take a PGCE which trains you to teach in a secondary school (on subject-specific courses) you can also teach in a college. However it doesn't work the other way around - if you take a PGCE to train for further education teaching (these are not subject-specific) you will be unable to teach in a school. You can, though, teach in a sixth form college.

New standards for FE teachers are being published next year. There will be a new award of Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) - but they are not likely to change this. So, for maximum flexibility, it would still be advisable to get Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) at secondary level. The website to get information, courses and application forms for postgraduate teaching courses is www.gttr.ac.uk - the Graduate Teacher Training Registry, a branch of UCAS. Lifelong Learning UK has a helpline which deals with any question about post-16 teaching. The address is helpline@lifelonglearninguk.org.

A risky business

Q. I am working in performance management, training people to use software to monitor performance. Through this I have some exposure to risk management and the principles behind it. I have now developed a great deal of interest in the subject and would love to get involved in the industry; however I have no idea how. I have approached the Institute of Risk Management (IRM) for some advice, but they were not very helpful.

A. The IRM is the professional education body for the industry, and is probably more easily able to answer questions about qualifications than provide career advice - they say they are sorry you didn't receive more help and hope they could offer more advice if you tried again.

The risk management industry has two other bodies which perform support and representational roles, so you might also try those - look up www.airmic.com and www.alarm-uk.com.

What the IRM can do is tell you about qualifications and training, and provide a means for you to get together with those already in the area. Their special interest and regional groups are free and open to non-members.

Lucinda Brown, consultant at risk management recruitment specialists the GRS Group ( www.grs.com) says risk management continues to be a growing industry with salaries to match (particularly in the banking sector). Analysing risks in any area - IT, health and safety or financial, to name just three - and finding ways to overcome them is a popular business. She suggests you use your existing skills in IT to move into a suitable area of risk management like business continuity or technology risk - though this might mean taking an initial step back. You could then broaden out (and take further qualifications) so you could deal with risk management in areas other than IT - right across the business. Or you might want to consider getting qualifications first. Recruitment agencies might be a good source of advice here, plus some scanning of job ads to see what sort of experience and qualifications are being asked for.

Send your queries to Caroline Haydon at 'The Independent', Education Desk, Independent House, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS; or fax 020 7005 2143; or e-mail to chaydon@blueyonder.co.uk

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