Considering an alternative career to teaching? Wondering what your options are? In this post, I’m delighted that Charlotte, former primary school teacher and career changer, is here to tell you more about her journey from teacher to Learning and Development Manager. Charlotte works for The Beehive, a shop in Ashford that supports women who can’t afford clothing, referred by local services to come and get clothes for free.

What is a Learning and Development Manager?

The role of Learning and Development (L&D) Manager varies greatly among organisations, but essentially they are responsible for the creation and delivery of coaching and training within organisations. Imagine being in charge of INSET training, with a dash of coaching, if that helps. As an L&D manager, your aim is to create a culture of learning and growth – but this time with adults, rather than children.

According to AIHR Digital, a learning and development manager is:

‘responsible for the training and professional development of an organisation’s employees. Their purpose is to make the most out of people’s talents and help them develop to their full potential. At the same time, an L&D manager keeps a strong focus not just on what the learner wants and needs, but also on the needs of the organisation.’

What does a Learning and Development Manager do?

The role has varied responsibilities depending on the organisation you work for, but as Charlotte works for a charity, her main ones are:

  • Manage volunteers for the charity.
  • Develop and deliver training packages for shop floor and cafe
  • Develop and deliver pastoral support for women who access The Beehive and those who volunteer with us
  • Provide CV support and job interview coaching
  • Provide support through wellbeing information.
  • Have 1:1s and invest time into volunteers so they feel heard.
  • Work with other professionals looking for volunteering opportunities to get women back into work by building their confidence.
  • Create tailor made packages for volunteers according to their personal skills, level of confidence and wellbeing

The role can be different if you work in a large company, but essentially the role is about training and development. If you’re interested in looking at what this role looks like in a different sector, do read this article from CIPD.

What skills does a L&D Manager need?

Often, when we consider a career change, we wonder if our teaching skills are transferrable to jobs in other sectors. And often, we can feel pleasantly surprised that they are. The role of Learning and Development Manager is no different and it can bring out the best of what we have learnt in the classroom, including:

  • Caring/pastoral role
  • Organisational skills
  • Patience
  • Computer skills
  • Communication, in person and (in this last season) using technology.
  • Being able to lead and manage people
  • Organise and deliver training and workshops
  • Being able to have good boundaries
  • Team work

Some of these skills may still be works in progress for you, but it’s about being adaptable and flexible, as well as willing to learn. If continuing down the learning route appeals to you, this is something you’ll know is simply part of the journey. It’s also a great way to use your knowledge of learning styles and how to meet the needs of all learners.

What job opportunities are there and how much can I earn?

The charity sector is huge. In some places, L&D is managed by a whole team and broken down into much smaller roles. Earnings really depend on the size of the charity or organisation you work for.

According to Payscale, the average salary for a learning and development specialist in London is approximately £33,000 per annum, but this will differ depending on the organisation, your location and the level you start at.

In Charlotte’s case, in the charity sector, some positions are grant funded so there is an element of risk, but the more data and stories you collect from your role to evidence the need, the more likely you are to get funding.

Beehive are a new charity, only two years old and currently has only 3 members of staff.

Charlotte’s Journey to L&D Manager

I’ve been in teaching for over 17 years, from Year R to Year 6 and all in between. After having children, I went back part time. What I didn’t expect, however, was to fall out of love with something that I had always been good at. Something where I felt I was making a difference. That was the pivot for me. Data and planning were getting in the way of the difference I wanted to make – it just wasn’t filling my tank anymore.

I have a really strong faith and I had a strong sense that teaching was no longer the thing for me. A sense that there was something more for me. I really felt like God said, ‘Right it’s time to move on now!’ Then panic struck – what on earth would I do?

I have a very supportive family and I left teaching with no job to go to – giving me time to just… be. During that time I volunteered for the charity I now work for. We needed someone to invest in the volunteers and be there for them, so we applied for a grant and, after 6 months, I had a job.

Moving Forwards

I work for 15 hours a week which is a lovely balance. I’m also starting to build on my coaching with the women I help as part of my job. I’m now an empowerment coach, setting up my own business called BIG. I started my job in January 2020, so my role changed in the first three months to online support for my lovely work family! We have been awarded another grant for next year, so my role will continue.

I love the diversity of my role and the flexibility is great. I’m able to move my hours around each week to suit my needs and my volunteers. Also, I get to go for coffee a lot and spend time investing in people. I don’t work every weekend or evening anymore, so I have a lot of my life back.

I’ll always be a teacher. For me it’s like I’m a stick of rock and that role is through the core of me. But it isn’t the role I need in my life now. Now I get to educate, coach and empower women, see their confidence and self worth rise, and see them take control of the road map of their life

  • Did I feel like I had let myself down? Yes.
  • Did I feel like I had failed? To start with, yes.
  • Did I feel like others were thinking, ‘What on earth is she doing?’ Very much so!

But I did it though and I feel like I’ve got a new lease of life, a new focus and fresh start. Working with just adults is very different – I’ve had a lot to learn!

Charlotte’s Top Tip

If you have a niggle, just explore it. Sit with it for a bit and let it be. Niggles are good, they can lead us to new opportunities and adventures. My niggle led me to this current season and I feel fulfilled in a way that teaching had stopped doing. I no longer get the ‘pit of dread’ in my stomach on a Sunday evening. I start each week filled with excitement and a real sense of purpose.

Resources from Charlotte

Charity Jobgood for understating the charity sector and finding jobs that may suit you.

Beehive Charity – where Charlotte works

NCVO – how volunteering can give you a great insight into other jobs and help you find your thing.

If you’re planning a career change and would like support, why not head on over to my Coaching page and book in a discovery call? Let’s work together and start your new career!

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