NSCG | Q&A with Public Services Lecturer, Chris Holloway
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6th March 2021

During National Careers Week, Chris Holloway, Public Services Lecturer at NSCG tells us all about this career pathway and the skills and training he has undertaken to become a teacher and as a commissioner in the RAF Volunteer Reserves (Training Branch).

Q. How long have you worked at Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group?

A. I am a fairly new recruit to NSCG, joining the team a year ago.

Q. Did you decide to go to University or did you go straight into employment?

A. I completed a Degree in Geography with Mountain Leadership and then progressed to studying for a PGCE.

Q. What did you want to do as a career when you were younger?

A. I really wanted to be an RAF Pilot.

Q. Tell us about your work history – has your career changed much along the way?

A. I worked in Outdoor Education initially, before making the switch to Secondary School teaching, I then spent a bit of time in Adult Education, before switching to college education. I have also been commissioned in the RAF Volunteer Reserves (Training Branch) since 2013, and have a range of experiences including running an RAF Air Cadet Squadron since 2014.

My experience of all levels of education, aspects of military service, together with a balanced range of qualifications in Outdoor Education made teaching Public Services an ideal job role for me.

Q. What additional training /qualifications have you gained to improve your career prospects?

A. I became a commissioned Officer in the RAF Volunteer Reserve (Training Branch) in 2013, a role focused on working with Air Cadets and other reservists to deliver a range of training. This role not only helped me with formalised training at RAF Cranwell, but also academic qualifications including a City and Guilds Level 6 Graduateship in Leadership and Management, this was a degree level equivalent which was heavily subsidised for me. I am currently working on my Level 7. I was also supported to gain additional qualifications including course directorships for Mountain Training – enabling me to deliver and assess a range of qualifications.

Q. What has been the biggest challenge in your career?

A. When I decided to make the switch from Outdoor Education to Secondary School teaching, I applied to the highly competitive Graduate Teacher Program in Stoke on Trent, 1000’s applied for only 10 places. After being successful, I was then thrown into a year of teaching secondary school students up to A Levels, alongside studying for a PGCE at University, alongside gathering evidence for my Qualified Teacher Status. During that year my average work week was 80+ hours, with additional assignments and reading for university, it was certainly a tough 12 months.

Q. And the proudest moment of your career so far?

Last year I supported a number of students in preparing for interviews and selection processes with the Military and Police. My proudest moment has been supporting those students in passing those processes and starting their journeys into careers that they have dreamt of since they were children. This year we also have a range of students hoping to become Police Officers and join a range of branches in the military who I am also supporting, so I look forward to having these proud moments throughout my future time at NSCG.

Q. What would your advice be to anyone wanting a career in Public Services?

A. Start preparing early. Starting physical preparations early to ensure you exceed fitness expectations will help you to excel during training. Consider what qualifications you plan to take at College and beyond early. Remember, your time at College is your opportunity to give yourself the skills and experiences to take forward to your future careers, ask yourself, what is the best fit for my future job aspirations? Finally, do your research, understand the role you want and its history, don’t apply for a job role in the Public Services without having a detailed understanding of the role and what it involves.

If Chris has inspired you to consider a career in Public Services, find out more about the courses available at NSCG.

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