05 November 2023

Call for employers to provide T-level engineering students with industry placements to get careers started


Manufacturing employers keen to recruit the next generation of students are being urged to provide industry placements for students enrolled on Leeds City College’s T-Level Engineering programme.

Industry placements are a key part of the T Level qualifications, introduced two years ago and are the equivalent of three A levels. Students must complete the placement in their second year of study, normally undertaken two days per week and lasting up to a minimum of 45 days.

It gives them the opportunity to gain experience of working in industry while for employers it’s an opportunity to bring a young person into the business and get to know them before, for example, offering them an apprenticeship.

“T Levels are a great way for employers to and ‘try before you buy’ and offer our students real insight into the world of modern manufacturing and engineering,” said Mitch Scott, head of Leeds City College’s School of Engineering.

Students enrolled on the college’s Engineering T Level offers can choose from one of three occupational specialisms: engineering design and development; maintenance, installation and repair; manufacturing processing and control.

“These specialisms have been developed with input and guidance from some of the leading employers in the country but we need local employers to help us open our students’ eyes to the great opportunities that careers in manufacturing and engineering present,” Mitch explained.

Textile firm AW Hainsworth, engineering employers Facultatieve Technologies and Total Automated Solutions, together with electronics manufacturer Saras Technology and construction engineers Keepmoat and Morgan Sindall, are amongst companies offering placements to this year’s 25-strong group T Levels students.

Ben Wilson, managing director of MPM Ltd and chair of Leeds Manufacturing Alliance, said: “Manufacturing and engineering faces a generational challenge in attracting young people into our industry and ensuring we have a strong talent pipeline.

“But while there’s been a lot of focus on schools and colleges providing the skills employers need, we’ve also got a responsibility to provide young people who are choosing careers in engineering with the work experience they need to get their careers started.”

Dawn Huntrod, regional director of manufacturing employers’ organisation Make UK said: “T levels are designed to provide young people with a clear pathway into engineering and manufacturing careers, but their success hinges on young people being able to access industry placements as part of their qualification. 

“More than ever, manufacturing is crying out for skilled technicians, technical operators and experienced engineers but, since the UK left the European Union, employers can no longer buy those skills in easily from abroad.

“So, we need to turbocharge the best quality training in these skills and develop our own homegrown talent and T Levels represent a major opportunity to change perceptions about careers in engineering and deliver the skills Britain so badly needs.”


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