Ferne Allan, Halle Burgess, Katie Kendall

T Level students enjoy learning in £140,000 revamped facilities

A £140,000 investment project to transform the learning environments for T Levels students at Furness College is nearing completion.

Health T Level students will soon be practising their skills in a ‘hospital ward’, complete with virtual interactive patients, who can be programmed to outline their symptoms and needs.

The ward, set up at the Channelside campus, also features the latest medical equipment including a VR headset, cardiovascular equipment, blood pressure machines, orthopaedic models and COVID-19 swab testing training models.

Meanwhile, Education and Childcare T Level students have inputted into the process to update the existing virtual nursery to incorporate a primary teaching classroom, which includes a smart screen that is used to teach in primary classrooms.

T Levels are technical qualifications that are equivalent to three A Levels and the college was selected to launch the courses last month.

Head of Area Keith Wardle said it was an exciting opportunity to combine academic and vocational study alongside placements in industry and it was fitting students had access to the latest state-of-the-art equipment, paid for with a special grant from the Department for Education and college funds.

“Our T Level students are exceptionally keen and dedicated, and looking forward to the variety that studying a T Level offers. We have invested in fantastic new facilities and resources at Channelside to support the students’ skills development and allow us to use a number of different assessment methods.”

Ferne Allan, 17, who decided on a T Level in Health after studying at Ulverston Victoria High School, is impressed with the facilities in the new hospital ward. She said: “The new facilities in the hospital ward are great and there’s everything you’d expect in a hospital setting. It really helps with the practical side of care to support the classroom learning. We have an interactive doll so we can practice our interactions with a patient. I’m excited to be part of the first T Levels cohort and looking forward to my placement hours at the hospital.”

Katie Kendall, 16, is looking forward to using the new facilities as she prepares for a career in healthcare. She said: “I want to be a paediatric nurse, so I’m looking forward to learning how to use all the hospital equipment and developing my practical skills in the demo room. I chose a T Level because of the industry experience and the placement will give me an idea of what to expect in my chosen career.”

Jessica Jackson, 16, is enjoying the hands-on learning offered by the Health T Level. The former Walney School pupil said: “The practical work element of a T Level suits my learning style so I found this course was the right choice for me. You are able to actually practice what you have learnt and put it into action. Also, you get experience of working in the NHS environment which is very useful, and the NHS look at work experience when they are hiring. My ambition is to go on to university or get an apprenticeship.”

MP Simon Fell enjoyed a preview of the work when he visited. He said: “It was great to pop along to Furness College to meet T Level students who are studying to gain a qualification in nursery education. T Levels are a great way to gain practical skills, with a qualification that provides a pathway to university, and the tools to secure a good job. Huge credit to Furness College for leading the way on them.”

Assistant Director of People and Organisational Development at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust Ray Olive helped to develop the T Level programme and has committed to support the industry placement locally by providing up to 100 placements for students across the hospitals trust.

“Industry placements work for so many reasons,” he said. “Students have access to local employers and the local careers that are available to them. Employers have access to a diverse pool of local talent, that will have a broad knowledge with skills in the areas that they are looking for. It will provide employment experience for students within the career area that they wish to pursue, which is critical to ensuring that these individuals are work ready with the soft skills that can only be developed with a workplace environment. As employers, it is the ultimate try before you buy.”

For more information about T Levels contact Furness College on 01229 825017 or email tlevels@furness.ac.uk

Simon Fell - T Level

MP Simon Fell with the new cohort of T Level students.

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