Career as an IT trainer

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Lindsey Jones is an IT tutor for a not-forprofit organisation that offers free training in IT and computing.

What are your main responsibilities?

I train students to use computers. Students usually work at their own pace, but I need to be there to guide them through and help them when they run into difficulties or have questions. I also develop training materials and co-ordinate our drop-in centre, which is open to anyone wanting to develop their IT skills.

What is your weekly routine?

I train students three days a week. The other days are set aside for administrative work and for running the drop-in facility. I also have to attend meetings to update others on my projects, and to find out about other projects that are happening.

What hours do you work as an IT trainer?

I have to work 144 hours each month, but the hours are flexible. Of course, I have to ensure that I am available when we have training scheduled.

What is your work environment like?

I share an office with my colleague, but I deliver the training in our IT suite, which is a purpose-built training area with 15 PCs.We also have a quiet room for exams.

Who do you work with?

I work most closely with my manager, but also work with other trainers and the learners themselves. I deal with suppliers and computer support representatives when I have to order stationery or when a computer is out of order.

What skills do you need for a career as an IT trainer?

You need a level three qualification in your specialist subject – IT in my case – and a teaching certificate for further education. Important practical skills include a knowledge of hardware and up-to-date software knowledge. In terms of personality, you need lots and lots of patience, and a sense of humour.

Why did you choose a career as an IT trainer?

This type of work can be very rewarding. At the start of a course, most students are terrified of switching on a computer and think it might break if they press the wrong button. By the time they finish the programme, I can see the difference I have made. The students have become more independent and get pleasure out of achieving their goals.

What training have you had?

I have an HND in Business IT from Manchester Metropolitan University, and a City & Guilds 7307 in Teaching Adults in Further Education. I have also gone on to complete the Certificate in Education and am now a fully qualified tutor.

What do you like/dislike about your job?

I have a passion for working with computers and for working with people, but I dislike the way training is becoming more target-driven. The administrative work also restricts the quality time I am able to spend with the learners.

What are the main challenges?

Sometimes computers don't do what you tell them and finding a solution can be challenging. Sometimes students don't do what you tell them either – and that can be difficult too!

How do you see your future?

I would like the opportunity to step up the ladder – I see myself as a curriculum manager.

Lindsey's route to her career as an IT trainer

  • GNVQs and A levels.
  • HND in Business IT.
  • City & Guilds teaching course.
  • Certificate in Education.

Lindsey's IT trainer tips

  • Do some voluntary work first to get a real feel for the job.
  • In teaching, remember that you have to be constantly aware of what the students are achieving to be able to give them the right kind of support.

IT trainer related jobs

Salary of an IT trainer

  • Starting salaries vary according to the organisation you work for, but IT trainers may start on between £17,000 and £20,000 a year.
  • Experienced trainers can earn up to about £25,000.
  • Senior IT trainers may earn £30,000 a year, or more.

Career as an IT trainer

  • There are no standard qualifications for this kind of work, but you do need knowledge and experience of computing plus an aptitude for teaching.
  • Some trainers start in other IT roles, perhaps as a technician, and gain training skills through work experience. Others qualify as trainers or teachers, and then add IT to their specialist skills.
  • There is a huge range of qualifications in IT and computing subjects – from GCSEs and A levels, or the equivalent, to degrees and postgraduate courses.
  • Some organisations, including all further education colleges, expect trainers to have a qualification in teaching or training adults, or to be prepared to work towards one.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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