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T-level students celebrate the first year of their programme

24 June 2021 Dominic Martinez

Gatsby Education’s Senior Project Officer, Dominic Martinez, reflects on the conclusion of the 2020 study programme year for the first cohort of T-level students.

T-level students celebrate the first year of their programme

It is hard to believe that the inaugural cohort of T-level students across England are coming to the end of their first year, marking a significant milestone for these young people – and for these new high-quality programmes.

September 2020 saw T-levels in Digital production, design and development; Design, surveying and planning for construction; and Education and childcare. We salute the students, colleges & schools, and employers who have supported the introduction of these new high-quality qualifications for young people starting their career journeys.

Around 45 providers have delivered T-levels in 2020/21 with a further 150 providers starting their delivery for this gold standard technical study programme over the next two years. Twenty more subjects are coming on stream over the next two years including T-levels in the technical education routes Health & Science, Engineering & Manufacturing and Legal, Finance and Accounting. Visit https://www.tlevels.gov.uk/students/subjects for a full list of T-level subjects.

The first T-level students have been impressed with the quality of their programmes:

THE T-LEVEL IN DIGITAL WAS THE BEST OPTION FOR ME AND I AM BEING PUSHED TO ACHIEVE THE BEST THAT I CAN. I’VE REALLY ENJOYED THE PROJECT WORK WE HAVE DONE – LEARNING ABOUT PROJECT MANAGEMENT, WEB DEVELOPMENT, AND ESPECIALLY THE PROJECT ON JAVA WHICH I AM NOW CONFIDENT WITH.
Louie Collis, Digital T-level student at Nelson and Colne College
THROUGH DOING MY T-LEVEL IT HAS GIVEN ME THE ABILITY TO SEE THE CHILDREN DEVELOPING AND DURING PLACEMENT I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO APPLY MY LEARNING IN A PRACTICAL MANNER WHICH HAS HELPED ME TO FURTHER DEVELOP AND IMPROVE MY KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING.
Amelya Young, Education & Childcare T-level student at Dudley College

Students have been supported by fantastic practice in some of England’s most innovative providers who are ensuring employer input into the curriculum, relevant project work and the extended industry placement - and students recognise how this will help them acquire the relevant knowledge and skills they need.

“I AM ALSO DEVELOPING MY SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE FOR THE REAL WORLD THROUGH THE INDUSTRY PLACEMENT ELEMENT OF THE PROGRAMME WITH MY EMPLOYER. THAT IS GOING REALLY WELL TOO, AND I FEEL PART OF THE TEAM. ALTHOUGH THEY DO THEIR PROGRAMMING IN A DIFFERENT LANGUAGE, THE SKILLS I AM LEARNING ARE TRANSFERRABLE, AND I THINK EXPERIENCE OF THE WORKPLACE IS VITAL IN GIVING YOU A HEAD START.”
Louis Collis, Nelson and Colne College

Gatsby has worked with five local areas as they have prepared to introduce T-levels. We have seen great examples of providers working collaboratively together to secure industry placements, sharing employer inputs into the curriculum and developing shared local CPD for teachers. This work demonstrates the value of situating T-levels within coherent planning for wider technical education reforms, enabling providers to form a joint picture of likely progression routes including apprenticeships and higher technical qualifications.

“WE’VE BUILT A TEAM, MAKING SURE THE TEAM WAS HIGHLY SKILLED… WE MADE SURE WE WERE COLLABORATING WITH OTHER COLLEGES, ATTENDING TRAINING COURSES, MAKING SURE OUR STAFF WE’RE AWARE AND PUTTING AN ACTION PLAN TOGETHER”
Jessica Henderson, Programme Manager Digital, Barnsley College

This has led to high-quality delivery using the latest technology and integrating employer knowledge and guidance into the programme alongside access to memberships of relevant professional bodies for example, BCS for Digital T-level students.

“OUR STUDENTS HAVE BEEN ENGAGED IN IMMERSIVE LEARNING USING THE LATEST VISUAL DESIGN TECHNOLOGIES IN CONSTRUCTION AS WELL AS ADOPTING ADVANCE GSS AND GPS SURVEYING WHICH IS THE FUTURE OF THE INDUSTRY. MY LEARNERS HAVE ALSO GAINED STUDENTS’ ENTRY MEMBERSHIP WITH THE MAIN PROFESSIONAL BODIES FOR CPD UPDATES AND PROJECT INFORMATION, ALONGSIDE EMPLOYER LEAD MASTER CLASSES.”
Harkesh Ram, Curriculum Manager: Construction, Dudley College

For further exemplars of collaborative work across the local areas visit Gatsby: Improving Technical Education. We will continue to work with providers, employers and other stakeholders as the T-level rollout progresses in the coming years, focusing on supporting capacity for employer engagement, sharing understanding of progression pathways, and developing resources to support teaching.

 

Further information

About T-levels

T-levels are two-year technical study programmes that will become one of three main options – alongside A-levels and apprenticeships – for young people choosing further study at age 16. The content of T-levels has been based on employer-determined standards to prepare young people to start their careers in skilled employment. A T-level programme comprises a large technical qualification, an extended industry placement spent working with an employer for at least 315 hours (around 45 days), and a minimum standard in maths and English for students who have not already achieved this. For further information about the introduction of T-levels see the Department for Education's overview or visit the T-levels website.

Improving Technical Education

Gatsby is working with further education providers and employer organisations to ensure the successful implementation of technical education reform and T-level programmes. A collection of videos demonstrating good practice, and testimonies from students, providers and employers is currently available online via the link below:

www.improvingtechnicaleducation.org.uk/introducing-t-levels

 

T-level students celebrate the first year of their programme