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Young people in Greater Manchester have praised their experience of new T Level qualifications for how they have helped them gain relevant work experience while they learn.
T Levels were first introduced in 2020 as two-year technical education courses for 16-19 year olds as an alternative to pursuing more academic A Levels after GCSEs. The programmes have been developed closely with employers to ensure that students’ learning is good preparation for the workplace.
Courses provide learners with a mix of classroom teaching and ‘on the job’ training including a 45-day industry placement. Subjects currently offered include Digital, Construction, Health and Science, as well as Education and Childcare. From 2022, courses will also be offered in Legal, Finance and Accounting, Business and Administration, and Engineering and Manufacturing.
T Level students in Greater Manchester have said the course has helped them to attain “insight on how work life is” while employers offering placements have said having students has helped boost their workplace and employers in the city-region are being encouraged to create further placements for the next academic year.
Councillor Andrew Western, GMCA lead for Digital, Works, Skills and Clean Air, said:
“There are currently over 400 learners enrolled onto T Levels across Greater Manchester and we’re urging more students to consider applying for these courses. T Levels are endorsed by employers and have been designed alongside them to ensure they meet the needs of industry.
“I am also urging employers to consider offering industry placements for T Level students and to help train new talent, while those on placement can also help to boost businesses in return.”
There are currently nine higher education providers in the city-region offering T Level courses including Trafford College Group, which runs Stockport College.
Auzai Khan (pictured), a Digital T Level student at Oldham Sixth Form College, hailed the industry placement element of the course and said it has been useful to gaining insight into the digital industry; he said:
“Finally, I have completed my first year and I enjoyed every bit of it and now I’ve just completed my industry placement which was different because of never working before. At first I was not liking the sound of an industry placement. However, completing the placement was useful because if gives you an insight on how work life is – helping you to gather skills such as being organised, boosting your confidence and improving your communication skills. By doing this it gave me a better chance into getting into universities and jobs for the future because of having industry experience which students wouldn’t have who have taken a A-Level or BTEC.
“Overall, I would recommend the Digital T Level because it’s different to the rest of the courses and I feel it’s going to be the future of pathways students can take because of the industry placement factor, which gives student the upper hand to the rest of the students.”
Jade Merabi, Digital Strategy Manager at Digital Next, has talked about the benefits of offering a T Level industry placement and described Auzai as a “real asset to the team”. Jade said:
“From day one of his placement at Digital Next Auzai had a clear focus and goal to learn and gather as much knowledge about digital marketing from the team as possible. During his time he was given daily tasks that spanned across the range of our services. Each and every time he completed these tasks successfully and to a good standard.
“Auzai proved himself to be a real asset to the team, Digital Next’s internal marketing efforts and the client campaigns he worked on. Research, content writing, asset creation, website building and market insight were all things that he excelled at and had an enthusiasm for.”