Lo­cal col­leges of­fer­ing new ‘T Lev­els’ re­vealed

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Jonathan Walker Po­lit­i­cal Edi­tor

THE first col­leges to teach new ‘T Lev­els’ have been named. Stu­dents in Birm­ing­ham, Dud­ley and Wal­sall will have the chance to study for T Lev­els from Septem­ber 2020, after West Mid­lands col­leges were cho­sen to pioneer the new qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

The T Level is de­signed to be the equiv­a­lent of an A Level but teach­ing tech­ni­cal skills.

It fol­lows warnings from em­ploy­ers that they ur­gently need more staff with qual­i­fi­ca­tions in fields such as engi­neer­ing, de­sign and pro­gram­ming.

Young peo­ple en­ter­ing year 10 in Septem­ber 2018 will be the first to be able to choose T Lev­els. They will then be­gin their stud­ies after their GCSEs in year 11.

Once the two-year course is com­pleted, and as­sum­ing they get the grades, they can go on to study at univer­sity, take an ap­pren­tice­ship or be­gin work.

Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May said: “We’re mak­ing the most sig­nif­i­cant re­form to ad­vanced tech­ni­cal ed­u­ca­tion in 70 years to en­sure young peo­ple have gold stan­dard qual­i­fi­ca­tions open to them whichever route they choose.

“T Lev­els pro­vide a high-qual­ity, tech­ni­cal al­ter­na­tive to A lev­els en­sur­ing thou­sands of peo­ple across the coun­try have the skills we need to com­pete glob­ally – a vi­tal part of our mod­ern in­dus­trial strat­egy.”

A to­tal of 52 col­leges across the coun­try have been cho­sen to launch the qual­i­fi­ca­tion. They in­clude:

Ac­cess Cre­ative Col­lege, Dig­beth, Birm­ing­ham;

Bordes­ley Green Girls’ School & Sixth Form, Bordes­ley Green, Birm­ing­ham;

City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form Col­lege; Dud­ley Col­lege of Tech­nol­ogy; Lordswood Girls’ School & Sixth Form Cen­tre, Har­borne, Birm­ing­ham;

Pains­ley Catholic Col­lege, Chea­dle, Stafford­shire;

Sandwell Academy, West Bromwich; Univer­sity Col­lege Birm­ing­ham; Wal­sall Col­lege; Wal­sall Stu­dio School. Cour­ses in con­struc­tion, dig­i­tal and ed­u­ca­tion and child­care will be first taught from Septem­ber 2020. A fur­ther 22 cour­ses will be rolled out in stages from 2021, which will cover sec­tors such as fi­nance & ac­count­ing, engi­neer­ing & man­u­fac­tur­ing, and cre­ative & de­sign.

Many ex­ist­ing tech­ni­cal qual­i­fi­ca­tions could be axed, although no de­ci­sion has been made about spe­cific qual­i­fi­ca­tions yet.

A com­mon com­plaint from em­ploy­ers has been that there are too many dif­fer­ent qual­i­fi­ca­tions, mak­ing it hard to judge the mer­its of can­di­dates ap­ply­ing for jobs. There is also con­cern that tech­ni­cal cour­ses do not have the pres­tige of A Lev­els, mak­ing them unattrac­tive to stu­dents.

T Lev­els are de­signed to change all that.

Jane Grat­ton, Head of Skills Pol­icy, Bri­tish Cham­bers of Com­merce said: “Busi­ness com­mu­ni­ties across the coun­try tell us that im­proved tech­ni­cal ed­u­ca­tion and stronger work­place ex­pe­ri­ence are needed to help them fill the skills gaps they face.

“T Lev­els will be an im­por­tant part of the so­lu­tion, giv­ing young peo­ple a high qual­ity route to gain­ing the em­ploy­a­bil­ity and tech­ni­cal skills they will need to suc­ceed in their cho­sen ca­reer.

“En­sur­ing that busi­nesses of all sizes, and in all re­gions, have an in­put into the de­sign and con­tent of the new sys­tem will be cru­cial to its suc­cess.

> T Lev­els qual­i­fi­ca­tions will pro­vide a high-qual­ity, tech­ni­cal al­ter­na­tive to A lev­els, ac­cord­ing to the prime min­is­ter

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