For reasons of expediency, Colleges of Education (engaged in initial teacher education outside the university sector) introduced a category of Assistant Lecturer in the 1960s. These posts were created to strengthen the subject studies base within the colleges. They attracted a somewhat modest salary, and young, recent graduates tended to be appointed to them. In this paper, the authors consider the extent to which these posts were a form of preparation for teaching, with some features in common with current ‘workplace’ routes to Qualified Teacher Status in England. The approach is autobiographical, recording and reflecting on the authors’ own experience as Assistant Lecturers in Mathematics in two Colleges of Education in the 1960s and early 1970s.