A Barrow education leader has described the advent of new T Level qualifications as a major step forward for technical skills across Cumbria.
Furness College Assistant Principal Curriculum Sue Hannan said the qualification is a perfect fit to help grow the county’s world-leading industrial workforce.
T Levels were launched nationally this month as a new two-year qualification following GCSEs that have been developed in collaboration with employers.
The qualifications offer 16 to 18 year olds an equivalent to three A Levels, and feature a compulsory industry placement to support a student’s readiness for employment.
Sue said it was a significant opportunity to address the higher-level skills shortage and equip students with qualifications and experience as it recovers from the pandemic.
“Year 11 students in schools across Cumbria have a unique opportunity to secure places on these courses and receive high-quality technical training that is equivalent to A Levels.
“For a long time, vocational education has not been given the recognition it deserves and we are pleased that the government is now investing in the prestige of technical education.
“As the county recovers from a global pandemic, the businesses that sign up to offer an industrial placement will be already benefiting from fresh-thinking and new ideas that our first cohort of T Levels will bring to the workplace.”
“We are sure these places will be sought-after by our students and expect they will attract the best and brightest as they will not only complete their courses job-ready but will have made the connection through the industrial placement that could land them with future employment.”
Furness College will offer T Levels in Digital, Education & Childcare, Health and Science from September 2021 and will start recruiting to courses now. Kendal College will offer T Levels in Health & Science and Construction while Lakes College will run T Levels in Digital, Construction, Education & Childcare and Health & Science.
Mike Smith OBE, Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership Board Member and Chair of its People, Employment and Skills Strategy Group, welcomed the move.
“Cumbria has a strong track record of delivering high quality technical and vocational education that is amongst the best in the country,” he said.
“The introduction of T Levels in Cumbria is another demonstration of the strong relationships that exist between our high quality, responsive skills system and employers across our unique economy.
These programmes will play a significant role in developing the workforce of the future and deliver the high level skills that employers in our key sectors require.”
T Levels combine classroom theory, practical learning and a 45-day industry placement to give students real experience of the workplace.
Furness College is looking for organisations from all sizes and sectors to get involved in the industry placements.
Students on industry placements bring with them enthusiasm, good subject knowledge and skills to support businesses and after 45 days they could hit the ground running as an employee.
For more information about partnering with the colleges on the T Level industry placement contact the colleges or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Smith OBE
LEP Strategy Skills Group Chair
Sue Hannan – Furness College Assistant Principal Curriculum