Sunderland College is celebrating the achievements of its T Level students as they complete their first year.
In September 2021, the college became one of the first providers in the country to offer the pioneering T Level qualifications which bring classroom learning and an extended industry placement together on a course designed with businesses and employers.
They can help students into skilled employment, higher study or apprenticeships, with the courses on offer reflecting growth areas and addressing industry skills gaps in subjects such as digital, health and social care, and construction. From September 2022, courses in laboratory science, engineering and manufacturing, and management and administration will also be available to study at Sunderland College.
T Levels are unique as they combine classroom study with industry placements so young people gain valuable work experience in their chosen sector. Declan, who is studying T Level Design, Surveying and Planning at City Campus, has been working with Sunderland-based architects Building Design Northern for two days a week.
He said: “I have developed my knowledge on the professional side of the industry and learnt many things I may not have had a chance to in a classroom.
“A real benefit of my placement has been learning how an architect and engineering practice operates. Being taught by industry experts has also been extremely helpful in showcasing what it’s like to work in architecture. In future, I want to pursue a career in architecture, and my placement at BDN has well and truly cemented my decision.”
Fellow student Robbie, who has completed an industry placement at construction firm Bowmer & Kirkland, added: “I would recommend studying T Levels as they open a lot of opportunities and pathways for your career.
“I have been able to go out on sites, use various equipment and experience different areas and techniques of construction which has helped give me a have a better understanding of the industry.”
Many local businesses such as BDN, Bowmer & Kirkland, Sunderland City Council and South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust are embracing T Levels as a great way to bring in new ideas and the latest skills, and a new way to find, nurture and secure young talent.
Silicon Valley-based Infostretch, a specialist in digital engineering services, was among the first employers in the North East to support the new qualification.
Martin Williams, Head of Infostretch UK, said: “As employers, we have a crucial role to play in shaping future skills, growth and productivity.
“Engaging with Sunderland College and the ambitious young people embarking on their T Levels is a win-win situation for employers and students alike. Alongside their classroom learning, we’re giving students real life experience of what it is like solving some of the world’s most exciting digital challenges.”
Victoria Moyse, Work Experience & Placement Lead at Education Partnership North East which includes Sunderland College, added: “We’re incredibly proud to be celebrating the success of our first T Level students this summer.
“We were among the first providers in the country to offer these brilliant new qualifications, and it has been fantastic to see how they have been embraced by young people.
“We are excited to see our students build on their success next year and where they will progress to once they have finished their courses – whether that be straight into the world of work, university, or other post 18 options such as an apprenticeship.”
Building Design Northern (BDN) has partnered with Sunderland College to deliver an on-site hard hat tour as part of their ongoing T Level partnership.
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Construction students from across the North East travelled to City Campus for a prestigious skills competition to find the best apprentice bricklayers
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Our achievement rates are well above the national average.
We are the College of the Year.
(*Top college nationally for BTECs, Pearson 2019)
100% of our HND and HNC students progressed to employment or further study.
(*Destination data, academic year 2016/17, HNC 19+)
We have recently invested £50 million in our facilities.