Preston solicitor made redundant during pandemic retrains as a teacher

A Preston solicitor who was made redundant during the pandemic has retrained as a teacher and is ‘happy’ with her decision.

Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 12:30 pm

Former solicitor Christina Grainger, 41, is currently retraining as a primary school teacher after being made redundant from her job as a solicitor.

“When the pandemic hit, the firm of solicitors I was working for lost a bit of work, but even then, when redundancies were announced it was a shock as we had been busy right through lockdown,” Christina said.

“Being made redundant is a real mix of emotions- it was a really unsettling time.”

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Former solicitor Christina Grainger, 41, is currently retraining as a teacher.

Christina had been considering a career change ‘for years’ but said the redundancy was still ‘scary’.

“At that point, I wanted my redundancy to go ahead but also deep down felt it was a reflection on me,” she said, “It’s a big knock to your confidence”.

The Preston mother qualified as a solicitor in 2006 but considered a career change from her ‘busy job’.

“After having my children, my priorities began to change and I started to wonder whether I was still in the right industry,” she said.

Christina says that she has a better work-life balance and that her previous lack of teaching experience was not a disadvantage.

“It takes 6 years to qualify as a solicitor, and having invested both so much time and money into qualifying, it was scary to think about leaving that stable job for another industry entirely.”

Time for a career change

Christina says the most rewarding part of her previous job was ‘training and mentoring others’ so she considered a career in teaching.

“Around the time of the redundancy notice, I saw something from Transition to Teach asking whether it was time to get into teaching,” she said.

“I didn’t have the first idea whether I would be eligible as I thought I would need school experience, but it wasn’t a barrier to me getting onto the programme.”

Christina is one of the Transition to Teach students who are embarking on a new career following redundancy, early retirement or a career change.

Despite her lack of teaching experience, Transition to Teach helped Christina use skills she already had to get into teaching.

“The skills I am taking into teaching with me include organisation and prioritisation,” she said.

“As a solicitor, I had to speak to many people and adapt my communication style accordingly.

“Also my resilience and ICT skills will both come in handy as a teacher.”

Christina is currently teaching Key Stage 2 pupils as part of her final school placement and says her experience as a mother has helped her on her new career path.

“I think being a parent and being a little older has made me a better teacher,” she said.

“Teaching is about more than just the teaching side, it’s also about the pastoral side and ensuring children are OK, particularly during the pandemic.

“Being a parent to two young children, I know first-hand how important a teacher is in a child’s early years, in helping mould them into who they are going to be.

“I realised I could take the aspects I really enjoyed from my role as a solicitor, into a new career in teaching.”

Better work-life balance

The trainee says she now has a better work-life balance and ‘lots of support’.

“Balancing the academic side of training as a teacher with a young family can be tricky, but I have got lots of support.

“My husband takes the children to school in the mornings so I can get to school myself and I’ll complete assignments in the evenings.”

1 in 12 expected to lose jobs in next three months

Transition to Teach is funded by the Department for Education and helps those who want to make a career change and become a teacher.

Like Christina, the teachers who train with Transition to Teach do not need any prior experience and the programme aims to help those at risk of redundancy.

Redundancy figures released by the Resolution Foundation in February show that 1 in 12 employed workers expect to lose their jobs in the next three months, or have been advised that redundancy is on the cards.

Stephen Henry, who has more than 25 years of experience in the education industry and works with Transition to Teach, supports trainees on the programme.

“It’s a myth that teaching is a young person’s game, it’s actually beneficial to be older in many cases,” he said.

“When I was first teaching 18-year-old students at only 24 myself, it was difficult to get that distance and attain the necessary authority.

“People moving into teaching often worry about the teaching side and how they’ll control a class but actually, once you’ve learnt your craft, the teaching becomes second nature.

“Teaching is one of the most rewarding jobs there is, and I for one am delighted to see more candidates with rich life experience joining the profession.”

“If you’re thinking about teaching, I’d highly recommend getting in touch with Transition to Teach,” Christina said.

“It’s both exciting and scary to be starting a new career in teaching, but so far so good.

“I’m happy with the decision I made.”

More information about Transition to Teach can be found at this website.