Pioneering teaching assistant scheme gets full marks for employability

The University of Wolverhampton’s first cohort of Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTA) has celebrated completion of their teaching qualifications – getting full marks for employability.

The Graduate Teaching Assistant scheme was launched in 2014 and is a pioneering programme offering University of Wolverhampton graduates employment experience in an academic role for a fixed period of time while they study for a PGCE (Post Compulsory Education) qualification.

The first cohort of students, which started in the GTA pilot year, have just completed their studies and celebrated their achievements at an informal gathering at Walsall Campus.

Professor Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton, said:  “The Graduate Teaching Assistant scheme was inspired by the concept of moving away from the reliance of a teacher in the classroom towards teaching assistants who provide a broader bridge between teaching and other aspects of student life.

“Our aim was to mirror this concept at the University by offering graduates, across the breadth of all our faculties, the opportunity to work towards a teaching qualification whilst gaining valuable, hands-on work experience in an academic role.  Our first cohort of GTAs has helped to inspire and shape the scheme whilst at the same time has had considerable impact in leading the way by providing vital additional support for students as well as faculty staff.”

Kauser Husain, Graduate Teaching Assistant, said:  “My role has been about providing support for students and putting things into perspective for them – bridging the gap between their academic studies and the rest of their student experience.  There are lots of support systems available to students but we have been pivotal in helping them to help themselves in a lot of ways.”

Graduate Teaching Assistants have also supported partners including University Technical Colleges, Academy Schools, Telford, Dudley and Wolverhampton colleges as well as supporting teaching staff at Aston University.

The GTA scheme is part of a wider research initiative to evaluate the impact on the student experience.  Initial findings have shown that students have benefited positively from the support of GTAs - inspiring new ideas, shaping faculty teaching practices and providing a link between students and lecturers.

ENDS

For more information please contact the Media Relations Office on 01902 322736, 01902 322003 or 01902 518647.

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