13 December 2023

Final call for employers to provide industry placements for T level engineering students


Packaging firm Greyhound Box and bed manufacturer Harrison Spinks are the latest employers to join the ranks of those offering industry placements for T level engineering students at Leeds City College.

The placements are a key part of the qualification, equivalent to three A levels, designed to give students real ‘world of work’ insight and experience. Second year students must each complete a minimum 45-day industry placement, which usually involves them working with an employer a minimum of two days per week.

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 get to know a young person and ‘try before you buy’, recognising that students have already opted for a career in engineering and that 90 per cent of them are seeking an apprenticeship,” said Mitch Scott, head of Leeds City College’s School of Engineering.

Only a small handful of students are still to secure placements and Mitch is urging employers not to miss out on the opportunity.

Students enrolled on the college’s Engineering T Level offers 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 still 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, R&L Enterpsies, Rosa Engineering and Total Automated Solutions, together with electronics manufacturer Saras Technology, are amongst companies offering placements to this year’s 25-strong group T Levels students.

Louise O’Brien managing director Greyhound Box and a member of Leeds Manufacturing Alliance, said: “We face a generational challenge in attracting young people into our industry and ensuring we have a strong talent pipeline.

“There’s rightly a lot of focus on schools and colleges providing the skills employers need, but we’ve also got a responsibility to provide young people who are choosing careers in engineering with the 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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