Ever thought about a career in education and childcare? Roles often come with term-time working and settings across the country to choose from. But what is the reality? AFF Employment & Training Specialist, Lucy Ritchie, explores…


  • Rewarding – you have the opportunity to really make a difference to the lives of young people and help them to fulfil their potential. We all remember an amazing teacher who made an impact on us.
  • Consistent schedule with regular working hours and extended time off during the holidays for many roles.
  • Plenty of daily excitement and variety – no two children are alike.
  • Education is a necessary part of everyone’s life and there should always be job opportunities wherever the army takes you.
  • Educators need to be adaptable, resilient and organised – all skills you probably have already as an army spouse.


  • The pay can be low, particularly if you’re newly qualified.
  • Behaviour and classroom management can take up a large amount of your time and energy.
  • Qualification requirements can vary across devolved regions and overseas.
  • Workload – lesson planning, report writing, marking – you will probably be taking your work home and working outside hours.
  • Career progression may be stilted if you can’t stay at one setting for long.


Childbase Partnership welcomes veterans and non-serving partners. Kate Bate, who joined the company in 2016 after a career in army aviation, is now a fully qualified Early Years educator in Cambridge.

With limited experience of childcare, Kate was unsure her skills were transferrable, but the employee-owned company – which has 44 day nurseries in England – recognised her potential and put in place a tailored plan to get her the qualifications she needed.

“No two days are the same. I can be a builder, storyteller, princess or Spiderman but I’m always a teacher helping children realise their full potential. Childbase has supported my career progression with lots of additional courses to enhance my practice and develop my knowledge,” says Kate.

Through its Academy of Excellence, there are courses to suit all needs and ambitions. Go to childbasecareers.com


There are some great forces-friendly training providers who can help you take the first steps into the classroom. We spoke to a few to find out what they can offer…

Royal Artillery Centre for Personal Development (RACPD)

The RACPD has been offering nationally recognised qualifications to the defence community for 25 years, including family members.

Its Supporting in Schools courses have proven to be a great way to gain a qualification and ease back into the workforce. Since the pandemic, the move to online teaching has meant that RACPD’s courses can be accessed more widely.

For Sandra Rossiter, in Sennelager, it’s been of huge benefit. She found it difficult to find employment locally but now with a teaching assistant qualification, Sandra can apply for roles wherever they’re posted and has the confidence to step back into work.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the Level II and Level III Award in Supporting Teaching and Learning,” says Sandra. “Both courses were highly informative and gave me the foundation to work in education as a support worker. The enrolment was straightforward, and the tutor was well-organised, professional, friendly and above all, patient and understanding. More at racpd.org.uk/all-courses

Essential Teaching UK (ETUK)

If you’re dreaming of a rewarding career as a teacher, Essential Teaching UK’s renowned Teach UK (Forces into Teaching) programme supports both armed forces personnel and spouses to get into the sector.

Andy McCran took advantage of the scheme before retiring from the military: “I wanted to do something I would find rewarding and challenging. Teaching offered both, but gaining the qualifications was going to be the problem. Essential Teaching UK’s course mixed on the job training and school placements in order to gain a teaching diploma and professional status as a Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills.

“Packaged around an Enhanced Learning Credit and resettlement grant, the course is flexible enough to fit into busy service life. The support and guidance was fantastic. ETUK provides an excellent route for military personnel to switch to a career in teaching or training post-service life.”

Aspiring teachers can join its part-time live virtual classroom experience. Visit essentialteaching.uk to find out more.

Get into Teaching

Check out the Government’s Get into Teaching website, which offers free advice and support to anyone who’s thinking about a career in teaching in either primary or secondary schools in England.

Don’t forget, it isn’t just about being an educator – there are plenty of opportunities in administration, HR, finance and catering, so it could be a great option, whatever your skillset. Keep an eye on your local authority website for any job opportunities across the sector. 

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