Tell us a bit about your background

I was born in South Africa and as a teenager, I was involved with children and youth work. At university, I also worked part-time as a youth worker. Without knowing it, from these experiences, I was already being moulded to relate learning and knowledge to real-life. After my university studies, I set up a national charity taking young people to remote cultures and using experiential learning techniques for self-development.

Fast forward to the UK, having arrived in 2001, I became a church pastor university chaplain, and in 2011, the academic programme director for 3-year placements at the Church of England. This is where my academic expertise in work-integrated learning (WIL) became formalised.

Next, I was the Project Lead of WIL for a business college working with companies such as OmniCom Ethnic and Arcese Logistics. I have been freelance since 2019, involved in WIL curriculum development and teaching across numerous universities including Pearson College London with whom I am now the Academic Lead for Work Integrated Learning.

Tell us about your role here at Pearson College London

As the Academic Lead for Work Integrated Learning (WIL), I am expected to raise the profile of Pearson College London nationally and internationally in the field of Work Integrated Learning. I also network, liaise and support Pearson College London's WIL agenda across programmes, modules and teaching strategies and help boost knowledge exchange within WIL as a whole.

Pearson College London is great because it wants to be innovative, modern and different. A little like me. It is not just about producing cogs for an economic system but shaping the innovators and leaders of today to make a positive contribution to humanity.

It is learning that also transforms the learner as Highton (2012, 194) said,

"Learning opens us out that we can see more of what we still need to learn – it draws us into wider conversations that whisper to us of more distant voices that we did not even know we had ignored – and, when we finally hear those voices, they will speak to us of still more distant, still more unexpected, voices waiting on the edges of our perception"

Do you have any advice for students who are currently in education?

The world of work is in constant flux and competition is no longer just regionally or even nationally but also globally. For those studying at the moment, get as many work-related experiences as possible, network like crazy and build your professional profile with dedication and precision. I am always happy to have a coffee and chat and explore with you the opportunities in the world of work.

Trevor Gerhardt - Academic Lead for Work Integrated Learning