Lecturer (adult education): job description

Adult education lecturers teach academic and vocational subjects to adults of all ages and academic abilities.

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Lecturers need to be able to work with people from all backgrounds.

What does an adult education lecturer do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Typical responsibilities of the job include:

  • developing programmes of learning activities
  • planning, preparing and researching lessons
  • preparing teaching materials
  • contact/teaching time with students on an individual or group basis
  • checking and assessing students' work and giving feedback
  • encouraging personal development via tutorial/pastoral work
  • invigilating examinations
  • attending staff meetings
  • liaising with other professionals/employers

The job commonly requires working evenings and weekends. Many people enter the profession through part-time and temporary contracts, supplementing their salary by writing, private tuition and exam marking or by taking up several part-time posts.

Adult education lecturers and tutors teach a broad range of subjects, including literacy and numeracy skills, IT and creative arts.

Typical employers of adult education lecturers

  • State-maintained and private sixth-form, adult and further education colleges
  • Community or local authority adult education centres and outreach centres
  • The armed forces
  • The prison service

Vacancies are advertised in local authority jobs lists, the Times Educational Supplement, Times Higher Education and national, regional and local newspapers. A few specialist recruitment agencies also handle vacancies.

Qualifications and training required

There are no set academic requirements for entry into the profession. However, a degree related to your respective subject is usually necessary. Requirements can vary between employers.

Although it is possible to become a lecturer without a teaching qualification, your chances of securing a role and progressing in your career improve if you do have one. There are various levels of qualifications that you can study in further education colleges, or you can do a PGCE for post-compulsory education at a higher education institution. Employers may also favour candidates who have several years' work experience. Some employers provide the opportunity to gain a teaching qualification via part-time study once in a post.

Those who wish to teach literacy, numeracy or English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) will need specific relevant qualifications.

Key skills for adult education lecturers

  • Ability to work well with students of all ages and backgrounds
  • Organisational skills
  • The ability to work as a team with colleagues
  • Extensive knowledge of the subject area
  • Effective verbal communication skills
  • Written skills to produce coursework materials
  • Creative skills to plan and deliver interesting lessons and lectures at the right level for students

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