How a PGCHE can kickstart your teaching career: Graduate interview

Thu 3 Mar 2022

Managing Director Gavin Reddin is a graduate of Falmouth Flexible’s part-time online PGCHE. 

We spoke to Gavin about how he built up his teaching experience while on the PGCHE and how the qualification has helped him secure two rewarding teaching roles at British universities. Read on to find out more:

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

Gavin: I have 40 years’ experience in business, for the last 25 at managing director level of medium to large enterprises. I have remained passionate about continuing education and have in later life obtained an MBA and an MSc in International Development, before embarking on the Falmouth PGCHE.

I’m currently Managing Director of a security print and data company and following my Falmouth course, Teaching Fellow at Portsmouth University and Associate Lecture at the Open University in Strategic Management (and occasional Visiting Lecturer at Falmouth).Gavin Reddin

What motivated you to study a PGCHE?

Gavin: As my business career began to wind down towards (semi) retirement I saw an opportunity to do something about the seemingly strict separation between the worlds of business and academia.

Most teachers on business degrees and master's courses have little business experience and many business professionals are unaware of the fact that academic models play - and could play an even bigger - role in the business world.

I saw the Falmouth course as an opportunity to disseminate real business experience to the next generation as well as learn new skills for myself.

Why did you choose to study online with Falmouth Flexible?

Gavin: My business and family life made it impossible to consider a full-time PGCHE and the online part-time model offered by Falmouth was particularly suited to the period of Covid lockdown.

Even without the pandemic, the flexibility provided an ideal opportunity to gain a recognised new skill and satisfy my ambition to try my hand at teaching.

What was the support like, both during the application process and your studies?

Gavin: Right from the start of the application the Falmouth team was great. The admissions support was persistent and helpful with regular calls to check on progress of my application.

I did not have the required teaching hours booked to qualify but the Course Leader was incredibly helpful in advising me on how to get the teaching practice needed to qualify for admission.

The tutors were thorough and the feedback on assignments was both suitably critical and helpful to allow me to develop from a low base quickly.

The technology was good and the learning material first rate. The weekly webinar drew things together well and allowed for a surprising high degree of interaction with other students.

How did you balance work, social life and studying?

Gavin: There were no fixed routines (other than assessment deadlines), and the weekly webinar was recorded so attendance was not essential. The online platform followed a step-by-step approach and though structured weekly, you could always go back if you missed elements. Even the dreaded additional reading lists were kept to sensible levels so with careful planning I could keep up.

What are the networking opportunities like for online students?

Gavin: The networking opportunities were through break out rooms in the webinar and online forums. There was significant diversity amongst the cohort as well as overseas students, so the interactions were fascinating.

How has the course impacted on your career?

Gavin: I was able to do some teaching work both online and in person at Falmouth University and as this was my first ever teaching experience it was invaluable.

The staff in the Business and Enterprise and Launchpad departments were extremely supportive and right from the start I was able to get significant experience with online teaching, which chimed very well with a significant part of the course.

By chance one of my own business contacts provided me with some teaching work at University College London and based on my studies (and this experience) I got a part-time lecturing role at the University of Portsmouth.

Ironically, from having no teaching experience at the start of the course I was overwhelmed at the end and struggled, not because of the course but because of actual teaching work!

I’ve now rationalised this and have two very rewarding roles at the University of Portsmouth and the Open University, as well as my business career. It’s therefore probably fair to say that doing the course was a bit too successful in terms of my career!

What’s your advice for anyone else thinking of studying a PGCHE with Falmouth Flexible?

Gavin: The course is very well structured, covering the theory of learning, practical teaching tools as well as an excellent section on online and blended learning which is clearly gaining significant traction in the world of education. My advice would be don’t try and answer all your concerns before you start, just go for it. It’s a good course, sensibly priced and the support is great.

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