A new qualification in engineering and manufacturing, which promises to help meet the skills gap for manufacturing employers, goes live in September. Leeds City College is one of the further education bodies involved in delivering the T-Level – or Technical Level – qualification aimed at 16-19-year-olds.
Ahead of our event taking place at the college’s Printworks Campus on 3 March, head of the college’s School of Engineering Mitch Scott, explains what T-levels involve and what’s different both for employers and for young people.
What are T-Levels?
T-Levels are a two-year technical programme of study, offered after GCSEs, involving a core element, consisting of two exams and a first-year employer-set project, plus an occupational specialism.
For manufacturing and engineering, the occupational specialisms offer a choice of three pathways: design and development; maintenance, installation and repair; or manufacturing, process and control.
Specialisms are assessed through a practical assignment in the second year and the two results are combined to give an overall grade, which is the equivalent of three A-Levels.
“What’s unique about T-Levels is that they combine classroom-based learning with industry placements as an integral part of the course of study,” Mitch explains.
Students undertake approximately 45 days of industry work placement as part of the qualification, and the employer-set project comes from the company providing the placement.
Once they have completed their T-Level course, students can continue to higher education, take up an apprenticeship or full-time employment.
Why are T-Levels important?
The industry placement is the major advantage of the T-level, giving students an insight into the world of work. “We hope it will inspire more students to join the world of engineering or manufacturing but it also provides a ready-made pathway for students who’ve already decided they would like to pursue a technical route.”
Jamie Cater, senior policy manager for employment at manufacturers’ organization, who is speaking at the LMF event on 3 March, said: “T-level industry placements offer manufacturers the valuable opportunity to begin developing a pipeline of future talent with experience of the workplace, and learners the chance to put into practice the knowledge acquired during their qualification.
“Whether progressing into full-time employment or further work-based training such as an apprenticeship, a T-level in engineering and manufacturing could be the ideal way to kickstart a young person’s career in the sector and equip manufacturers with the technical skills they need.’
Mitch Scott, who will also be speaking at the T-Levels event on 3 March, added: “It’s important that employers have a good understanding of the new T-Level as level 3 BTECs are being phased out as an option for 16-18year-olds over the next few years in favour of these new qualifications.
“We’re really keen to get employers on board to offer placements to T-Level students. It’s a key part of the qualification for the student but it also gives employers an opportunity to ‘try before you buy’ and really get to see the potential of a student over the course of a placement.”More information on T-levels at Leeds City College is available here.