Employability and Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

STEP is aimed at practising and prospective teachers wishing to embark on a career in teaching within the wider Aga Khan network of institutions, with a particular focus on teaching the IIS’ Secondary Curriculum at Ismaili Religious Education Centres. Following completion of the academic programme in London, students are contracted for a minimum of five years to serve as professional teachers with the Ismaili Tariqah and Religious Education Boards (ITREB), in the students’ countries of origin, unless agreed otherwise. As all STEP students receive their employment contract before they start their studies at the IIS, they can focus on preparing themselves for a successful transition into a secure professional environment upon completion of the programme, without the need of worrying about their employment.

Student employability is supported by the Institute beyond the time students spend in London. A detailed multi-pronged approach to Continuing Professional Development (CPD) informs the ongoing needs of STEP teachers, supporting them in their ongoing growth and development, and includes:

  • Ongoing individualised mentorship including an IIS facilitated CPD
  • Professional Learning Communities
  • Access to online and physical resources
  • Funding for research • Conferences and related activities
  • Secondment to other countries
  • Networking and professional activities in their own or other contexts.


As part of their ongoing professional development, STEP teachers are supported to:

  • follow a career in education leadership
  • specialise in specific education-related areas such counselling or education research
  • work as teacher trainers for primary level classrooms
  • work in the further development of the programme at the IIS or its sister organisations, such as the Aga Khan Academy or schools run by the Aga Khan Education Services
  • conduct research in education or related fields.

Progression opportunities

For those interested in deepening their studies and contributing intellectually to the academic world in general, and to the academic advancement of the IIS and the Ismaili community in particular, the IIS offers a limited number of scholarships to pursue research at a doctoral level. Great attention is given to research areas that are traditionally considered part of Islamic Studies. Among these, the most relevant to the Institute’s research needs are: Ismaili Studies, wider Shi‘i Studies, Qur’anic Studies, Islamic Law, Education and Manuscript Studies. In addition, scholarships are also open to any area in which Islam can be analysed in one of its various manifestations (historical, theological, philosophical, legal, educational, political, ritual, or cultural). STEP teachers are eligible to apply for the doctoral scholarship once they have completed their initial fiveyear employment contract with ITREB.