In the United Kingdom there is an increasing demand for essential skills tutors who are able to teach basic literacy and numeracy skills to adults. Teaching functional skills English and functional skills maths, can be extremely challenging, especially as there are relatively few suitable functional skills resources available. With increased immigration, there is also a need for specialist ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) tutors. Teaching adults can be extremely rewarding. It is also an ideal career choice for more mature individuals who are looking to work part-time, or alternatively change career paths.
If you want to teach literacy or numeracy skills to adults then you will need to obtain a minimum Level 3 qualification in the relevant subject area. You can study for a Level 3 Certificate in Essential Skills Practitioners in the subject areas of literacy, numeracy and ESOL. Most of these courses are run on a part-time basis for 3 hours per week. Although they typically last for between 24 to 30 weeks, depending upon your course provider, you should sensibly allow one year to achieve your qualification. This is because you need to obtain a minimum of 15 hours teaching practice, some of which will be observed. Don’t panic about this. Most local authorities will allow you to volunteer in their essential skills classes, subject to a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service Check (DSB) which replaced the Criminal Records Bureau Check (CRB). It is important to point out at this stage that it is standard practice for an employer to obtain a DSB certificate, prior to allowing you to work with vulnerable adults and young children.
Additionally, it is advantageous to obtain a Level 3 Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (PTLLS) certificate which, at the time of writing, is being replaced by the Level 3 award in Education and Training.
Alternatively, you may already have a skill and want to teach that to adults. Adult education centres are usually on the look out for tutors. Popular courses include First Aid, Health and Safety and Food Hygiene. Arts and crafts is popular as is martial arts classes. In recent years, the demand for sugarcraft classes has risen considerably with the rising popularity of elaborate cupcakes and cake decorating. In this case, you would also benefit from obtaining your PTLLS qualification as this provides an introduction to basic practical teaching skills, principles and theory. In this case, you would also benefit from obtaining your Level 3 PTLLS / Education and Training qualification, as this provides an introduction to basic practical teaching skills, principles and theory.
If you’re finding this all rather daunting then please, don’t be dissuaded from teaching adults. The acronyms and differing qualifications sound far more complicated than they really are. However, if you are considering a career tutoring adults, then you may find “What is Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector?” by Ann Gravells, compelling reading. It provides an essential introduction for anyone contemplating a career in teaching in the lifelong learning sector. It also provides advice on selecting what subjects to teach and how to become qualified.