The whole is greater than the sum of the parts

Jackie Grubb, Chief Executive of City College Plymouth, on the central role that education plays in local communities, the labour market and life-enhancing changes for millions of people.

For those who monitor government announcements, the recent Levelling Up White Paper may have piqued interest with the emphasis on placed-based collaborative approaches to education and skills, along with the work of colleges being given a higher priority. 

Put quite simply, we need better alignment between employment support and skills, between universities, colleges and schools, and between economic development and infrastructure spend and skills. 

There needs to be a focus on meeting employer needs, stimulating development and enabling joined-up skills, employment and business support. At City College Plymouth we are excited to be part of this momentum with the imminent launch of our Future Skills Centre and the introduction of a new wave of qualifications called T Levels, brought in to help businesses and to have a clear impact on the economy and, more importantly, our region.

T Levels are resetting the post-16 educational landscape and with a T Levels hub here in the city, Plymouth and the wider region is in prime position to benefit from what is the biggest shake up to education in more than a decade. 

Since they were first rolled out in September 2020, these brand-new qualifications are attracting the future stars of construction, engineering, education, health and other sectors that have usually fallen under the technical/vocational banner. Developed in consultation with employers, T Levels have been introduced to mitigate the growing skills shortage in a variety of crucial industries. 

The Government is confident these new A Level-equivalent qualifications will provide both the technical skills and fresh injection of talent that these sectors desperately need to turn the challenges of the future into opportunities. With this confidence comes investment. To support the implementation of the new courses, the Government is providing funding for a select number of providers to set up centres for excellence – of which City College Plymouth is one.

Having recognised the importance of the construction industry to the local economy, City College has been awarded more than three quarters of a million pounds to develop a specialist facility that will not only provide training to current and future workforces, but will become a research and development centre that will support other industries with new technologies, products and services. 

The development of the T Levels Future Skills Centre, which represents a total investment of just over £1million, means employers in the South West can be confident that their future workforce will have the highly technical skills and advanced knowledge that will further support the current boom already being enjoyed by the local construction industry.  

Finding out more 

To find out more information about offering a T Level placement, please contact us and ask to speak to one of our Work Placement Coordinators by calling 01752 305300. You can also learn more about these qualifications on our website:

What employers need to know …

T Levels and the employer

What makes T Levels so distinctive to A Levels is a 20% workplace element, which means students complete their courses with the workplace skills to allow for an easy transition into employment. But as these courses are the technical equivalent to A Levels, they will also allow students to progress to university should they choose to continue with education. 

As we all know, recruiting new talent can be costly. By providing T Level work placements, you will have access to a stream of potential employees. As a business, you might be thinking about expanding your team or even recruiting an apprentice, and supporting a T Level student will allow you the opportunity to see how this could work in practice without making the full commitment of hiring new staff.  

T Levels have the same entry requirements as A Levels, so students must have gained their English, maths, and in some cases science GCSEs, by the time they finish Year 11. T Levels provide those students with the potential to successfully complete an A Level programme with an alternative, technical option. 

By supporting these young people via a T Level work placement, you will be able to trial future employees who could benefit your business. You can shape and develop your future managers without even having to place a job advertisement, saving time and money, and potentially growing a talented and loyal workforce, whilst safeguarding the future of your own industry.

What are the T Level qualifications?

From September 2022, City College Plymouth is delivering the following T Levels:

From September 2023, the College will also deliver T Levels in media, hair and beauty, and hospitality and catering, and we expect to offer more occupational specialisms for some of our 2022 courses. 

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