27th October 2021
Sunak: £1.6bn funding for T Levels, with £1,000 per work placement on offer for employers.
A Devon college has today welcomed chancellor, Rishi Sunak’s announced £1.6bn investment in the new technical post-GCSE qualifications called T Levels but is concerned by their lack of recognition amongst employers.
South Devon College cites a recent survey by the Institute of Directors (IOD) that showed employers have little or no awareness of what a T Level is; with only 12% being aware of the new qualification.
South Devon College was amongst some of the first Further Education providers in the country to deliver T Levels, welcoming its first students in Digital, Health and Science, and Education and Childcare qualifications last month.
Equivalent to three A Levels, the T Level is a post-GCSE technical qualification. It has been designed in partnership with employers to ensure the curriculum meets industry needs. The two-year, predominantly classroom-based qualification includes a 45-day work placement.
Two students, Stephanie Toomey (17) from Paignton and Sam Buscombe (18) from Kingsteignton are early participants in the qualification, they shared their experiences so far.
Stephanie said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed the work placement. I feel my communication skills have improved – I’m more confident in groups now. I have developed my creativity too – we’ve had some different hands-on experience with cameras. It’s been an amazing experience really.”
Sam agreed. He said: “It’s taught me quite a lot, actually. I’d say, leadership skills and working with other people and being a team leader… being responsible for supporting others. I have really had to work on my time management and organisation skills.”
The success of this new qualification lies in participation from local employers keen to offer work placements.
Lewis Towning at Maven Creative, Newton Abbot is one of the first employers to take part, he said: “At Maven, we were impressed by the students’ work ethic and enthusiasm with every task set. As a business we were able to assign tasks to the students that allowed them to experience real life projects and could be overseen by someone in-house, permitting a time advantage and more creative minds working together.
“We would recommend any business to explore taking on students as you will assist the local up-and-coming workforce and develop a healthy pipeline for employment.”
Kerry Pilato, senior industry placement coordinator at South Devon College said: “There are plenty of benefits in offering a work placement, including developing a talent pipeline for businesses. Once the qualification is complete, these students will be our region’s future workforce, whether they come straight into a job role, or go on to study a higher apprenticeship. Either way, they will be bringing new ideas and a fresh perspective to business offering insight to young people from a diverse range of backgrounds.
South Devon College is now offering T Levels in other subjects including Business, Engineering, Electrical Installation, Science and Onsite Construction for students starting in September 2022.
Currently employers are able to claim £1,000 for every T Level placement they offer, up to a maximum of 20 placements.