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Two years ago Alex Finlay took the plunge and embarked upon a major career change at the age of 50 - and next month will walk into a classroom as a probationer teacher.

Becoming a teacher is a far cry away from her post as a Service manager in both Development Services and Adult Services.

Alex jokingly puts it down to a ‘mid-life’ crisis but can’t wait to start her teaching career at Antonine Primary School in August.

She is one of the first members of staff to take part in the new ‘Learn to Teach’ programme funded by the Scottish Government. It was launched in 2017 and offers staff the opportunity to retrain as primary teachers.

So what made Alex take a leap of faith into the unknown?

Alex said: “I had been thinking about a career change for some time and absolutely loved working with children and young people.

“For years I had been a parent helper at my son’s nursery and was also a volunteer with NSPCC and found I really enjoyed being in classrooms.

“I didn’t want to carry on in management for the next twenty years and I knew I wanted to work with children.

“So when I received the all staff email from Robert Naylor inviting staff to retrain, I jumped at the chance.”

The Learn to Teach programme is open to all existing permanent local authority employees who continue in their current posts during their programme of study.

The programme is a mix of academic study with Dundee University and practical placements which takes 18 months to complete.

“There is no immediate financial impact as you get paid while you study plus a guaranteed placement as a probationer in a Falkirk Council school”, added Alex.

“It was the perfect opportunity and came at the right time for me.”

Alison Liddell from Housing also completed the course and will start her probationer year at Hallglen Primary School.

Robert Naylor, Director of Children’s Services said: “Learn to Teach has provided a fantastic opportunity for current staff to retrain as primary school teachers. I was really glad to hear that both Alison and Alex have graduated and about to start work as probationer teachers in our schools.”

A further three members of staff have been offered places on the next programme of study starting in November 2019.

Find out more at Teach in Scotland