An initiative to increase the number of support staff in Portsmouth schools has been hailed a success, 12-months after it launched.

Teach Portsmouth, a Portsmouth City Council service, introduced taster sessions as part of their teaching assistant events. The scheme is designed to help people build confidence and experience before they apply for a job in a school.

Sarah Daly, director, children, families and education at Portsmouth City Council said:

“Teach Portsmouth has been on a mission to encourage more people to consider a career in the classroom. It’s fantastic to see these early successes, with people becoming apprentices, teaching assistants and volunteers.

“However, we still need more people to support schools in different ways. If you are new to the profession, looking for a career change or want more information, these events are a great way to understand your options and next steps.”

Rebecca Hardy, a teaching assistant at Mayfield School, works on a one-to-one basis with a pupil in year four. She attended a Teach Portsmouth event last year and was successful in getting a job.

During university, Rebecca worked part-time in HMV, while studying for a degree. After graduating, she decided to become a store manager with the company, where she worked for 12 years. Rebecca said:

“I really loved my time at HMV as a store manager. It was a career that spanned over a decade. When a change in circumstances meant I had to leave, I wanted to find a job that worked for me.

“I attended a Teach Portsmouth event where I met a range of schools who had different opportunities on offer. When I spoke to Mayfield School at the event, I knew the job was for me. I have now been at the school since September and love it!”

For those who would like to gain experience and a qualification, an apprenticeship is an option to consider.

Helen Wortsmann who attended a Teach Portsmouth taster session, has started a teaching assistant apprenticeship with Thinking Schools Academy Trust.

Before starting the apprenticeship, she volunteered as a parent reader at Moorings Way Infant School. She attended an information event last year where she signed up to a taster session at Meon Infant School. Helen said:

“I was looking for a new job that fit my family life, as my son had just started school. When I attended the event, I spoke to The Learning Place and enrolled on their free courses that are designed to boost your CV. When an apprenticeship became available, I applied straight away.”

Teach Portsmouth have now expanded the breadth of opportunities available at their events to include other support roles in education and Portsmouth City Council services.

The Teach Portsmouth Support and Teaching Assistant Jobs Fair will take place at Portsmouth Central Library (third floor) on Tuesday 23 April from 1:30pm – 3:30pm and 4pm – 6pm for one of two identical sessions.

For more information and to get your ticket, visit www.teachportsmouth.co.uk/TA