Cirencester College are at the forefront of the roll out of T-level qualifications starting in 2020; a brand new national qualification that is set to revolutionise technical and professional education in England. The College is one of the first colleges in the country to be offering the T-levels in 2020, and the only provider for the whole of Gloucestershire, Swindon, South Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Oxfordshire.
In September 2020, three courses will be available to students: Construction: Building Design, Surveying and Civil Engineering, Digital: Software Development and Production and Education and Childcare. This course list will be extended in 2021 to include four more courses, Digital: Support and Services, Digital: Business Services, Health and Healthcare science.
Second year Cirencester College student Alden Palmer took part in the pilot work experience scheme for T-levels throughout 2018 and 2019, on a placement at Neon Play in Cirencester. The hugely successful mobile game industry was an area of work that Alden knew he wanted to learn more about alongside his studies. “I was on the placement between November and March last year, doing around twenty hours a week. The hours were flexible but I wanted to spend a lot of my spare time there. It was a great experience and I really made the most of it. What was great was that the placement associated with my hobbies but also helped me decide what I want to study at university in the future.”
Neon Play are a close contact of the College’s, and are a prime example of the opportunities available to T-level students. CEO Oli Christie helped launch the pilot work experience. “We’re really looking forward to working with Cirencester College providing work experience for the new T-levels. We like being able to give students a chance to experience the real world because they learn different skills in an office that support the work they do in the classroom. It’s also really great for them to have industry experience in a sector in which they’d like to progress their careers and improve their CVs. It was rewarding having a student with us in the pilot year and we’re pleased that we have supported him in his future ambitions.”
One T-level is the equivalent of three A-levels, and they are unique in being designed by employers. A large and valuable work placement and two years of teaching lead to the development of high quality, technical skills. By working closely with employers for at least 45 days, students are more likely to head straight into employment or an apprenticeship in their chosen sector when they leave the College. However, university is also an option.
Jim Grant, Principal at Cirencester College said, “The UK lags behind Germany and other Northern European nations in its technical education. After many false starts, T Levels look like the real deal in addressing this. We have been impressed with the care that is being taken to get them right. They are challenging but will equip students to succeed and will provide a genuine alternative route into well paid careers. We are convinced that they are the future of technical and professional education and are delighted to be selected as the first school or college in our region to deliver them.”
If a student isn’t quite ready to take a T-level, our 1 year, Yet-T programme will develop excellent skills and approaches to work so they are in a great position to apply for one. Students will also get the chance to get English and Maths GCSE grades if they haven’t already been attained.
T-levels are designed in the closest partnership with employers we’ve ever seen, and the qualifications offer a superb springboard for the future. To find out more about T-levels, visit our website here or come along to our Open Evening on 6th February 2020, 5-8pm.