Niz: It’s never too late to retrain

Ruth Peterson | December 8, 2020

Nizakat Iqbal’s work ethic and desire to help others marked him out as an outstanding student on the Post Graduate Certificate in Education Secondary Mathematics course at Bradford College during 2020.

After years of working at a bank, Nizakat, or Niz for short, retrained to become a maths teacher at a secondary school. With a natural talent and desire to support his pupils as well as his fellow teaching staff, he believes he has finally found the right role for him. He said: “I enjoy the satisfaction of teaching, of helping somebody and seeing them understand and learn. It just makes it all worthwhile.”

Niz Iqbal

“You can always return to study”

Niz first gained a degree in Psychology in 2007 and followed this with a Masters Degree in Business Management. He said: “I went into banking and worked my way up to become a manager but I wasn’t really enjoying the job.”

What Niz wanted was a chance to make a difference in the lives of others. He said: “I felt I still had so much to offer. I spoke to my father, who has always been a really strong influence on me. He said: ‘It’s never too late to return to study. You can always press the reset button.’” As well as the important influence of his father, Niz says his mother has also always been very supportive.

“It was a change but I enjoyed it”

Having taken part in a subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) course, Niz began his PGCE. He said: “I was one of the more senior students there. Everyone else on the course was in their mid to late 20s, and here I was coming from a banking background, back into study. It was a bit of a change but I enjoyed it.

“I really was part of a great cohort, many of whom I’m still in touch with now.”

Pushing beyond comfort zone

The course involved a lot of creative work that pushed Niz out of his comfort zone – for example, one of his tasks was to create a poster. He says: “That was a real achievement as I didn’t think I would do well in that at all.”

He also supported his fellow students to give presentations. Niz said: “I didn’t know how helpful this would be, but they said I had really helped them to build up their confidence.”

Naturally, this skill comes in very useful when he is teaching his pupils. Niz says: “Some students may be vulnerable and if you can get through to them, you feel like you’ve accomplished something. When you get good feedback from fellow teaching staff as well, it makes you want to stay on that path to success.”

Study for a PGCE at Bradford College

The PGCE Secondary qualification will provide you with a PGCE at Masters level and Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Working closely with specialist staff in both College and placement schools and colleges, you will gain the knowledge, skills and understanding needed for a newly qualified teacher, based on the strengths of your own degree.

The course is designed to help you to fulfil a wider teaching role (including that of pastoral care) within your chosen educational context. Throughout the course, we place particular emphasis on providing equal opportunities for all students working in a multi-ethnic society. There is also the option of experiencing teaching within the 16-18 age range.

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