As part of a broader education reform, the Department for Education (DfE) had already piloted a T-Level qualification which is aimed at helping students aged 16-19 to be work-ready. The very first T Level subjects will be taught from September 2020 in more than 50 colleges and other education/training providers. This means pupils who started Year 10 in September 2018 will be the first to be able to study them. The first T Level subjects that can be studied will be digital, construction, education and childcare. The new course will provide the learners with the technical knowledge and practical skills so highly needed by industry. According to the DfE, the multitude of qualifications is confusing and also lack many practical skills. “The UK is facing a skills crisis of historic proportions, vital sectors of our economy are struggling to attract the talent that they need”.
The economic recession of the early 2000s had left a scar in the job market and some regional developments. This had resulted in many areas of deprivation, unemployment and shortage of qualified personnel. In contrast, Further Education has taken on a pivotal role in providing a second chance to learners. FE colleges provide opportunities and a lifeline to people from disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve qualifications and improve their lives. For example, Central Bedfordshire College (CBC) has always been part of a strong community in the region and work in collaboration with universities and local businesses. Furthermore, CBC will work even more closely with employers and other agencies to provide learners with clear progression routes into university degrees and employment. As Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce embraces and promotes local businesses in the region, hopefully, more employers will be willing to take on learners as two-way cooperation. The T levels will need at least 45 days in placements for each academic year. The college is well known for courses like Engineering, Catering, Childcare, Media, Photography, Science, Business Studies, Accountancy, Sports, Public Service, Animal care and Hair & Beauty to name a few.
Central Bedfordshire College Students at Cytology Department of Lister Hospital, Stevenage
In Dunstable, CBC is already preparing for the new courses in 2020. Since there are many small and medium-sized enterprises, we would like to work with them to provide students with useful practical experience, which are often overlooked. May be the students are given a project to do for your companies as this will allow students to act on their own initiative and develop their own way of working. Once the T levels are completed the students can find employment in a skilled occupation, degree level apprenticeships or higher level technical study, including higher education.
(www.gov. uk/government/publications/introduction-of-t-levels/ introduction-of-t-levels)
Although there is still a long way to go for all providers to be fully prepared for T Levels, employers will be key to the close working relationship with the local FE colleges. Small and medium-sized enterprises would always be able to provide students with useful practical experience which are often overlooked.
This article is published in the Spring 2019 issue of Business Focus created by Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce.