Bridget Phillipson meets T-level students at City of Sunderland College

15 November 2022 Natasha Watkinson

The Shadow Secretary of State for Education, Bridget Phillipson MP, visited the City of Sunderland College on Friday 4th November to meet with students studying for their T- levels and see how these new qualifications are preparing them to enter further study and the world of work.

Bridget Phillipson meets T-level students at City of Sunderland College

T-levels are new two-year technical qualifications, equivalent to three A-levels. They include a 45-day industry placement with an employer, which allows students to develop their technical skills and gain real-life experience of the world of work while they study. Sunderland College currently offers T-levels in Construction & the Built Environment, Digital, Education & Childcare, Engineering & Manufacturing, Health & Science and Management & Administration. 

The Gatsby team were delighted to work with the college to arrange the visit and put together a programme to showcase their excellent practice and strong student achievement, giving Bridget the opportunity to see technical education reform in action in her local constituency. The visiting group met with college senior leaders to hear about their vision for the future of T-levels and how they support young people into fulfilling technical careers that meet local employers’ skills needs. They also toured the new Innovation Space – a state-of-the-art facility developed with £3million in T-level Capital Funding from the Department for Education to provide an immersive learning environment. Students had the opportunity to talk about their experiences of T-level programmes so far, with one second-year Digital student outlining how much they value being able to do real work on their placement, putting the learning from their course into practice. Employers, including Hays Travel, Sunderland Council, Sir Robert McAlpine Construction, Infostretch/Apexon, Cintel Global, and McNally & Thompson Construction, spoke highly of the T-level students they have taken on industry placements, seeing them as part of a growing talent pool for future employment opportunities. 

Following the visit, Bridget commented:

I was delighted to be able to visit City of Sunderland College to see how T-levels are giving young people in our city new opportunities and preparing them for their future careers. I am proud that City of Sunderland College, with its magnificent new facilities, is at the forefront of delivering such rewarding programmes and enabling students to gain life-changing qualifications.

T-levels are being rolled out across England. For more information, including which providers are offering each T-level, visit

Bridget Phillipson meets T-level students at City of Sunderland College