Blue Octopus recently caught up with Sue Lewis, HR Manager at the Manchester College. Sue has been with the College, one of Europe’s largest, for over five years and had plenty to say when we asked for her thoughts on recruitment in the further education sector. Over to Sue…
What lessons did you learn early on, as a hiring manager in the education sector?
I learnt to broaden the methods which we used to recruit and to open up different channels and ways to hire. The key is to be open in your recruitment approach and to embrace change and new influence.
What advantages do you think online recruitment brings to education?
The speed of online recruitment hires is a lot more effective. I have noticed that it opens up our vacancies to a larger and wider ranging candidate pool. The recruitment technology which is offered provides great accessibility to our roles and flexibility to the way we shortlist candidates. The panel scoring feature allows a panel of staff to score each candidate – which is very beneficial in education.
What three things do you look for when hiring staff to work at the Manchester College?
Passion for further education, potential of the candidate and what they offer, and the overall suitability of the candidate for the role.
What kinds of roles do you recruit for at the College?
We hire for a range of roles such as Teachers, Vocational Trainers, Heads of Departments and Learning Support Practitioners right through to specialist vacancies at our core company such as Developers and Marketing positions.
What are the possibilities for career progression in further education?
There are fantastic opportunities available for people who are passionate about education; we have numerous examples of people who have started in roles as administrators and have progressed right through to become senior managers.
What are the particular challenges and opportunities involved in recruiting in further education?
One challenge that we are continually facing in education is the changing world of funding.
The belt is always getting tighter on education and we need to be flexible and adaptable in our approach to be on the top of our game. Maintaining personal development among staff is one sure way that we can develop skills that are required for the college internally, while also keeping costs down.
What advice would you offer to candidates when trying when trying to pursue a career in education?
Candidates should do their research and prepare well for interviews, ensuring that they are a good match for the role is really important. Employment is a two-way street and both parties need to fit the opportunity.
Thanks for your time Sue. If you have any questions you would like to ask Sue, please leave them in the comments below.