FE News | T-Levels paving the way for future careers in Engineering

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Since undertaking a T-Level Engineering (Machining) course at Burton and South Derbyshire College, Connaugh Murphy hasn’t looked back and is encouraging more students to consider T-Levels when choosing their next steps.

T-Levels are an alternative to A levels, apprenticeships and other 16 to 19 courses. Equivalent in size to 3 A levels, a T-Level focuses on vocational skills and can help students into skilled employment, higher study or apprenticeships. Each T-Level includes an in-depth industry placement that lasts at least 45 days. Students get valuable experience in the workplace, whilst employers get an early insight into the new talent in their industry.

Speaking about the practical approach to learning on the programme, Connaugh said: “I chose a T-Level as I thought it might give me more options in the future and give me the experience I need to find a job. We learn the basics of engineering and in the practical side we get hands-on in the workshop – I really enjoy producing something that I have made with my own hands.”

Connaugh’s placement with Andawest Engineering has been instrumental in shaping his career aspirations. He said: “My placement is one day a week with Andawest Engineering, where I do a lot of hands-on machining work like making rollers for conveyor belts. It’s given me the experience I need to go into work. At first, I didn’t know what type of engineering I wanted to go into but now I have done my placement, I know I definitely enjoy machining and want to do that in the future.”

T-Level students come prepared with foundational skills, allowing them to contribute to the workplace from day one. Angela Wedgbury, Director of Andawest Engineering has been impressed with the T-Level programme from an employer’s perspective. She said: “We’ve always trained our own labour in collaboration with a training company. When I heard about T-Levels, I was very interested to learn about a new concept. It’s a more modern approach.”

“They fit in straight away – they have a good idea of health and safety so we can get them straight on the shopfloor doing basic tasks safely under supervision. Students get involved in various operations under supervision and guidance, progressing to lighter machines over a period of months.”

Angela emphasises the importance of giving young people opportunities: “Young people have got to start somewhere – we nearly always have a young person in training with us, I would encourage other employers to give the young people a chance.”

The T-Level programme offers a dynamic approach to education, bridging the gap between classroom learning and real-world application. Angela added: “More than anything else, it’s beneficial for employers to get involved in T-Levels because you get an idea of how students are being taught and brought into engineering, Young people are the future – they’ve got to be given a chance and that comes from employment.”

To learn more about the T-Levels on offer at Burton and South Derbyshire College, go to www.bsdc.ac.uk/explore/subject. Meanwhile, employers looking to take on a student for a placement should contact [email protected] or call 01283 494510.

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