Ptlls Unit 001

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Becoming a professional in the
lifelong learning sector – roles,
responsibilities and boundaries
Chapter overview
When you have worked through this chapter on becoming a professional you will be able to:
Describe what is meant by the ‘lifelong learning sector’ Explain the current drive towards professionalism in the lifelong learning sector and its implications for those working in it
Review the roles, responsibilities and boundaries of professionals in the sector
Identify other points of referral to meet the potential needs of learners
Recognise key aspects of relevant current legislative requirements and codes of practice relevant to your own context

Teaching in the lifelong learning sector
If you are reading this book we expect that you are preparing to teach in the lifelong learning sector and may well be interested in gaining the PTLLS Award. So what does this lifelong learning sector look like? It is a sector that covers all publicly funded post-16 education outside universities; this takes place in a wide range of institutions including Further Education (FE) colleges, adult and community education, private training providers of work-based learning, libraries, archives and information services and prisons. Some interesting facts about the lifelong learning sector emerge:

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ACHIEVING YOUR PTLLS AWARDS

1 Three-quarters of learners are 19+ and part-time
2 There are more 16–19-year-olds in colleges of FE than in sixth forms in secondary schools
3 Learners range from those who cannot read, write or communicate to those at post-degree level
4 There are more students in FE colleges than in universities 5 One in five adults are currently learning, with 42% of adults having participated in some learning activity during the past three years

6 Over £19 billion was spent on this sector in 2008
7 The majority of the workforce is female
8 Part-time teaching staff in FE outnumber full-time teaching staff by almost 2:1 Is this a picture that you recognise? The role of a professional in the lifelong learning sector is thus extremely diverse; you may be called a lecturer, a tutor, a trainer, an instructor, an assessor, a work-based learning or an apprentice supervisor, a learning manager or a prison education officer. Some of you may have gained skills and experience through another trade or profession, for example as an engineer, hairdresser or bricklayer. What you are likely to have in common is that you will all have a teaching or training function with learners aged 16 and above. For the purpose of this book we will use the term ‘teacher’ generically to apply to all these various roles and ‘learner’ to apply to those who you may also call students, pupils or apprentices. Professional teachers in the lifelong learning sector also share in the common purpose of serving the needs of learners, employers and the community. They face the challenges of working in a context which is diverse and rapidly changing. The past decade has seen significant change for the sector; the next decade will be marked by the emergence of new funding bodies taking over from the Learning and Skills Council and local authorities taking on enhanced responsibilities for 14–19 planning and funding. The government is convinced that the lifelong learning sector has never been more crucial in raising the overall level of skills and ensuring the UK remains competitive in the world economy. You will be expected to play a role in helping to meet current key targets; these include ensuring all adults are functionally literate and numerate, all 19 year olds have a Level 2 or equivalent (5 GCSEs at Grade A∗ to C) and that learners are qualified to meet vital skills shortages. It is expected that 50% of 18–30year-olds will progress to university by 2010. In order to meet these targets more young people will need to remain in education and training and more will...
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