What UWAS alumni say
For Psychology graduate Nazerine Noorani, it was the Educational Psychology course module which first sparked her interest in a career in education, and led her to the University of Westminster Associates (UWAS) scheme.
“My time at Westminster Academy was absolutely fantastic. It wasn’t just about in-class activities or shadowing teachers; I also helped outside the classroom, in assemblies, working alongside children doing fairs for the school, and experienced a more realistic and proactive approach to the wider education role.
It can be quite daunting, to be working as a recent student alongside experienced professionals who know what they are doing in their jobs. But the only way to go forward is to step up, to ask if they need assistance and find out what you can do. The training here at Westminster really helps; you also gain a bit more confidence, which you then take with you when you go into the school.”
Asked to pick out the high points of her UWAS experience, Nazerine said: “The level of input you have into their classwork, and the students remembering who you are. You certainly become attached to the school.”
Nazerine is now completing a PGCE course, and is firmly focused on a career in education. She has recently been offered a position as a teacher of Psychology in Stepney Green School.
After a year based in Madrid as part of his Spanish and International Relations BA course, Cem Bektas returned to Westminster for his final year.
“When the UWAS scheme came up, I thought it would be a really positive thing to do, and another way to develop my language skills,” said Cem. “It wasn’t part of a definite career plan to become a teacher.”
Cem returned to his old secondary school in Stoke Newington to complete his 15-day placement. “It was a great experience,” said Cem. “You presume that going back to your old school would be an easier way of doing things, but the level of expectation is quite high; once they knew I was at university and studying Spanish, they wanted me to show them my skills, and tell them what I had been learning. So there was a certain amount of pressure. You are held up as a role model.”
Although he enjoyed his experiences, it hasn’t pushed him towards a career in teaching. “But you also get the chance to develop a lot of different skills, including organisation and team work, just by playing an active part in those lessons. It really sets you up to find out what your own personal strengths are.
Being on the UWAS scheme was an amazing experience. It really did bring up my confidence levels.”