Nelson and Colne College has officially launched new T Level qualifications to over 50 employers in East Lancashire at a successful VIP event.

T Levels are new two year technical qualifications that have been developed in collaboration with employers and businesses to meet the needs of industry and prepare students for work.

The qualifications are equivalent to three A Levels, and will combine classroom theory and practical learning with a minimum 45 day Industry Placement with an employer.

Nelson and Colne College is the only East Lancashire college selected to be a trailblazer for T Levels and will deliver the new gold-standard qualifications in Digital and Childcare from September 2020. Further qualifications will be rolled out in 2021 and 2022.

The T Level launch was held at the Fence Gate Inn and attendees included some of the college’s key employer partners, stakeholders and dignitaries.

Assistant Principal for Technical Education at Nelson and Colne College, Morag Davis, said: “T Levels will ensure students are being provided with the right knowledge and experience needed to open the door to highly skilled employment, Apprenticeship or higher level study options.

“By employing T Level students for an Industry Placement and creating opportunities for them to get on the career ladder, employers will not only bring the right skills and knowledge into their business but will boost the organisation’s reputation and strengthen its links with the local community.”

At the launch, attendees heard about the benefits of T Levels as well as the minimum 45-day work placement. These include extra resources for day-to-day projects, growing the skills of the business, bringing in imaginative and new ideas, creating a cost-effective recruitment pipeline and an opportunity to provide a positive experience for a young person.

Employers who already frequently offer work placement opportunities to college students shared their experiences, highlighting the benefits young people bring to organisations.

Gillian Cairns, Acting Associate Director of Education at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Work experience is a vital opportunity for the Trust to take the brightest and the best young people into the wide variety of jobs we have in the organisation.

“People automatically think of the clinical roles within the Trust, but there is a far greater breadth of career opportunities within the NHS including Business Administration, Catering, Engineering and IT.

“One of the students we have had on placement within health records was Cameron, who is studying Level 3 Business Administration at Nelson and Colne College.

“Cameron really embraced the opportunities available to him and we were very impressed by his competencies and his professionalism – so much so we have added him to our bank of staff for ad-hoc shifts to cover any gaps in our staffing rota. I would say to any employer considering introducing work placements to take that leap – you’ll be impressed by the skills and commitment young people will bring to your organisation.”

Managing Director of Wise Owl Creative Paul White said: “We have been really keen to encourage people to work in the creative industry in East Lancashire. One of the things we have struggled with is recruiting young talent as students head off to university and don’t want to return as they don’t realise the opportunities that are here.

“It’s about future workforce planning for us as a company as well as the short term impact of them contributing to the performance of the business by carrying out client work during the work placement.

“Our current work placement student Adrian, studying Level 3 Games Design at Nelson and Colne College, has been brilliant; he is committed, mature, creative, has fit in from day one and brings a totally fresh perspective.

“We’re really looking forward to learning more about T Levels in the coming months. I think they will bring twofold benefits to companies – they will get that short term positive impact of the student working for the organisation on the placement, and secondly, the raising awareness that great career opportunities are here on the doorstep of East Lancashire.

Employers wanting to find out more about T Levels or those who wish to pledge support to the college in order to implement T Levels can contact marketing@nelson.ac.uk or call 01282 440319.