Career as an IT trainer
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
- Further education lecturer
- Learning mentor
- Technical support person
- Training instructor
- Training manager
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.
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