McLay, Margaret (2009) Breaking the mould: profiles of six trainee teachers. In: Journal of Vocational Education and Training Eighth International Conference: Researching Vocational Education and Training, 3rd - 5th July 2009, Worcester College, Oxford, UK. (Unpublished)

Teacher educators are charged with widening the profile of teachers in the sector both for
issues of equality and to provide role models to demonstrate that subject/vocational areas
are inclusive. Work has been carried out on recruitment from under-represented groups,
but this project aims to uncover what happens to such trainees once recruited, looking at
their reception by colleagues, management and learners, and at the support they receive to
help them feel comfortable in their role as teachers. It looks at six trainees who belong to
groups generally under-represented within the teaching profession in general or in their
subject/vocational area, whether by ethnicity, gender or disability. The trainees are asked
to tell their life stories, with further prompts about reception by colleagues and learners.
Emerging themes show that some have made a deliberate career choice, whilst others
have entered their subject/vocation by serendipity or by force of circumstances. As
mould-breakers they generally demonstrate the strength and experience to overcome any
less positive attitudes amongst colleagues and learners, and most feel that they have been
helped to settle into their chosen roles. Trainees‟ experiences will provide useful guidance
about supporting and retaining those from under-represented groups once recruited to the

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