Foundations for exciting careers  

“It has been an amazing journey which has enhanced my knowledge and understanding of the teaching profession. It is an experience which I will cherish for life.” 

After 25 years, Nusrat decided to return to education to pursue her lifelong dream of being a teacher. There is a variety of routes available into teaching, but Nusrat chose to study for a Foundation Degree in Supporting and Managing Learning in Education (FDSMLE).  

Foundation degrees allow people to combine academic study with employment, with the skills and knowledge they gain supporting their career progression. FDSMLE course leader Rebecca Whitford said: “It’s also a suitable course if you’d like to study alongside a paid role. It really does open up a lot of different avenues.” 

As well as going into employment, students can also progress to further study if this is the right path for them. Another of Rebecca’s students said: It enabled me to work alongside studying and put everything we learnt into practice. It is great for hands on learners and prepares you well for future study.”  

The degrees are developed by higher education institutions in partnership with employers, which ensures students graduate with the qualifications, knowledge and skills they need. For instance, Bradford College’s FdSc Sports Coaching degree was created with the support of a working group of employers from Bradford. Course tutor Jessica Thersby explained: “We asked them what they wanted to see from people entering employment in their industries.” 

The group developed the course modules to match the skills requirements of their organisations and needs of the area. Together, Bradford College and its employer partners review the curriculum to ensure it meets the evolving needs of industry.  

One of the modules on the FdSc Sports Coaching course is applied practice in community settings, where students gain experience on community placements including schools, health clubs and weight loss projects. They also use theoretical learning and reflection on aspects of their practice such as inclusivity in sport. Jessica added: “It really is an experiential way of learning.”  

The combination of theory and practice is also key to Bradford College’s Performing Arts FdA. Tom Aldersley, one of the course leaders and himself an actor, said: “We enable students to develop their portfolio of skills. If you’re an actor who can run a workshop and social media, apply for funding for projects as well as write your own material and set up a YouTube account, you have a lot to offer the industry.” 

Foundation degrees are suitable for all ages and career stages; students on Bradford College’s Foundation Degree in Ophthalmic Dispensing are aged between 18 and 55. To study on this course, students need to be working in an optical practice, and aim to become a fully qualified and registered dispensing optician.  

As well as focusing on what their study brings to their work practice, course leader Dean Dunning said it is important to discuss what their work practice brings to their studies. “It’s not just about tutors telling students what to do,” he said. “If there is anything they have found in their practice that doesn’t work, for example when they’ve been working with a patient, we can talk through it at college to find a solution.”  

Discover more about Bradford College’s full range of Higher Education courses here


Ruth Peterson, PR and Media Specialist, Bradford College