Leeds and West Yorkshire colleges commit to T Level provision over the next two years to boost career prospects post-Covid
A number of colleges and schools in Leeds and West Yorkshire have committed to offering T Level qualifications starting in either September 2021 or 2022.
From September 2021, Leeds City College, Calderdale College, and Wakefield College will be offering the new T Level qualifications which are technical alternatives equivalent to three A Levels.
They will join Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College in Leeds and Shipley College of Further Education who have been running the digital T Level since last September, with 10 different T Level courses available to students across four subjects: digital, education and childcare, health and science and construction.
Local businesses are also embracing T Levels as a way to bring in new ideas, the latest skills and a way to find and secure young talent and Matthew Hall, director of Leeds software development company Sycous, is working with Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form to offer industry placements to its T Level students.
He said: “It’s great to be able to work with the Notre Dame and their students through the T level program.
“We see a lot of young people with energy and a desire to learn. Engaging with them in a format like this really will help to strengthen their skill base and create talented individuals able to contribute to our growth and the wider growth of the tech industry in the region.
“It’s a real privilege to work with some of these eager, young minds and a great way for students to learn what they need to know to plug a real skills gap in software and digital across the UK.”
Industry placements such as those on offer at Sycous are core to the make-up of T Levels and see students spend an extended period (approx. 45 days) in a work environment to gain hands-on experience and learn vital technical skills.
Leeds College of Building, Garforth Academy and Kirklees College will also be offering T Levels from September 2022 across a wider range of subjects, including engineering and manufacturing, finance and accounting and business and administration.
David Baker, aged 17, from Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College who is studying a T Level in Digital production, design and development said: “I had started A Levels in IT, Computer Science, and Maths when one of my teachers suggested I switch to a T Level, an equivalent level qualification, as they thought it might better suit my career aspirations to go into a digital role.
“I started my Digital production, design and development T Level this year and haven’t looked back.
“I really enjoy the freedom you get with this qualification and there’s more independence than with A Levels.
“I’ve always wanted to work with computers and this T Level allows me to focus on my skills in this area.
“I have built my own computer and in my spare time I do projects with my grandad who also works with computers – so I’m keeping it in the family!
“I’m looking forward to the industry placement – I think it will teach me different skills to those we learn in a classroom environment and allow me to apply everything I’ve been learning.
“I know there’s lots of opportunities for career pathways too as all organisations need people with digital skills.”
After the coronavirus outbreak, T Levels will play a part in rebuilding the economy in West Yorkshire and beyond, boosting access to high-quality technical education for thousands of young people.
Successfully completing a T Level will give young people the option to progress to the next level, whether that is going on to further study or getting a job or an apprenticeship in one of the sectors.
Justine Barlow, Principal at Notre Dame, said: “We are committed to our T-Level students in equipping them for skilled employment and help with the local and national digital skills gap. Leeds is described as the ‘Digital Nexus of the North’ and Notre Dame is well positioned with its extensive employer links to support the future digital workforce.”
The new qualifications have been designed in collaboration with leading employers so they will provide the skills that businesses across the region need.