Sunderland College was among 21 further education providers nationally who were selected to pioneer the government’s industry placement pilot as the sector prepares for the new T-levels.

As part of the T-level reforms, Sunderland College led a 10-month pilot for the Department for Education (DfE), which began in September 2017 and ended last month.

T-levels are the Government’s new two-year technical study programmes. They will offer an additional pathway for school leavers, alongside apprenticeships and A-Levels.

Long term industry placements are an essential part of the new T-level qualifications. To support this, the Department for Education has introduced the Work Placement Capacity and Delivery Fund (CDF) for providers and employers to start developing the capacity and capability to deliver these work placements now, in advance of the introduction of some T-levels in 2020.

Judith Quinn, Vice Principal for Curriculum and Achievement at Sunderland College, said:

“Being involved in the industry placement pilot has been beneficial to Sunderland College in helping to prepare for T-level reforms and further improve the employability skills of our students.

“The industry placements have improved students’ technical skills, employability skills, and confidence levels. Some students were offered part-time work and potential apprenticeship opportunities through their industry placement employer.

Judith continues: “The College will be better prepared for continuing testing on a larger scale next year as part of the Work Placement Capacity and Delivery Fund, which will help to develop resources and staffing and improve awareness and preparation for future T-level placements.”

At Sunderland College, students across four subject areas have had the opportunity to participate in the long term work placements: engineering, digital, hospitality and professional cookery, and health. The College has worked with employers such as Sunderland Council Highways Agency, Hilton Garden Inn Sunderland and Three Motion Media to provide students with a placement lasting up to 60 days.

Dominic Murphy, Manager Director of Geek Talent, based at Sunderland Software City, offered an industrial placement to four students studying games design, animation and visual effects at Sunderland College. He said:

“The Sunderland College students showed an innovative approach and imagination, which surpassed my expectations. Working with them and seeing them pitch their project to a room full of industry and education experts, really demonstrated how ready for work and life these young people are, and how important placements are for connecting the classroom to the workplace.”

Victoria Moyse, Senior Employment Team Manager at Sunderland College, who organised the industrial placements said:

“The industrial placements have been a great success and we have had extremely positive feedback from employers. We are looking to expand the placements for next year and are keen to hear from employers across all sectors who can offer a long-term placement to one or more of our students. In turn they will benefit from a motivated student with fresh ideas who’s willing to learn.”

For more information about the wide range of courses at Sunderland College, or if you are an employer who could offer a long-term work placement to students, please ring 0191 511 6000.

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