‘You’ve got to enjoy working with young people’ – that’s the advice of PE teacher Ian Roberts for those considering a career in the classroom.

The 32-year-old Edge Hill University graduate says teaching is not just a career choice, “it can very easily become a lifestyle”. And he says that doing his PGCE at Edge Hill was one of the best decisions he has ever made.

“It’s a vocation” Ian says, “and it helps if you believe in what you are teaching.

“I would advise anyone thinking that they’ll go into teaching to enjoy long holidays and good pay not to take the decision lightly. But when you make the decision and enrol on a PGCE course, be ready to work hard and give it your best, as it is a very demanding year.”

Ian completed his PGCE course at Edge Hill in 2004, having already graduated with a degree in Sports Studies and Business Management in 2002. After graduation he worked at Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council as a sports development officer, and this gave him the inspiration and realisation to do more.

“As part of my role, I was spending a lot of time in and around schools,” says Ian, “and I decided that if I were to become a teacher, I could give the young people so much more than I could running short term activities which would only continue dependent on whether funding was available.

“Being involved in organising a six week summer sports programme can work wonders, but once that time is over, or the funding is gone, those children just go back to what they were doing before if there isn’t an outlet for them. I wanted to be able to have an input over a longer period of time.

“I chose to go back to Edge Hill because I knew how good the facilities were and, because the University was renowned as a quality teacher training provider and its courses were well established. Sporting Edge is a great facility and it’s only going to get better with the new development, and I couldn’t fault the quality of the leadership and teaching.”

Skelmersdale resident Ian is now a full time PE teacher at Tarleton Academy, a secondary school near Preston. He is also a talented triathlete who has represented his country at sporting events around the world and manages to combine gruelling training regime with his teaching commitments, which he says is thanks to very supportive family and a very understanding wife.

“I think it’s the best job in the world,” adds Ian.

“When you build a relationship with your students and you have their trust, you then have the ability to teach, coach, lead and inspire them. It’s a nice feeling to think that you can influence their lives in such a positive way.”