John Sherry readily admits he could have stayed at the Air Force until retirement – speaking warmly of the “fantastic career” he enjoyed. But at 48 years old, he was ready for another challenge. Enter teaching…

John joined West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds and quickly realised skills he had learned in his former life could help him make an instant impact with students.

Explaining his decision to swap the Air Force for the classroom, John said: “I love the variety of teaching and seeing the students achieve different things every single day. I never wanted to come out of the Air Force into a job that was stale in comparison. But teaching keeps me very fresh as there is always something new to learn and always new challenges.

“I have got completely immersed in teaching and I love it. If people are looking for a fresh challenge, I would wholeheartedly recommend this career path.”

Following in the footsteps of his father, John has spent the vast majority of his life in and around the Air Force. He explained: “I am Air Force to the core and that will never leave me. I have travelled and toured all over the world – including the Middle East and North America.

“I had a fantastic career in the Air Force, but it came to the point where I needed to make a decision – whether to stay in the Air Force until I was 55, or potentially 60, or do something different.

“A lot of the jobs left for me in the Air Force were office-based rather than the frontline and the opportunities were narrowing. I always enjoyed training and development in the Air Force, both for myself and helping others and so I was drawn to teaching.”

A visit to see a friend at West Suffolk College saw John grab the teaching bug and he hasn’t looked back, quickly making his mark to become the Subject Lead in Engineering FE.

John, now 50, who lives in Norfolk, said: “Rather than just settle for anything, I wanted to test myself with another career. Teaching has been a learning curve. I had the experience of mechanical engineering but in my opinion that particular experience is only part of the persona of teaching.

“I quickly found some of my Air Force skills were transferable in the classroom – including leadership skills and a big workload. I have no regrets at all.”