Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills Gillian Keegan MP has visited Walsall College to meet some of the first students to enrol on the UK’s pioneering T Level programmes.
The minister completed a whistle stop tour around the college, exploring classroom activities and facilities for students on T Levels in Construction, Digital Software and Early Years and Education. She also spoke to learners on each course about their T Level expectations and experiences so far.
Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills Gillian Keegan said: “It was wonderful to visit Walsall College and meet some of the first students in the country to be studying all three of our new T Levels.
“We’ve worked with over 250 leading businesses to make sure the new qualifications give students the skills they need to get ahead in the workplace, while also providing businesses with the talent they need for the future.
“It was great to speak to local employers, Balfour Beatty VINCI and HS2, about how they are working with the college to support T Levels and the value they know they will bring to their businesses. I wish everyone the best of luck on this exciting journey ahead.
Jatinder Sharma OBE, Principal and CEO at Walsall College said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for us to demonstrate to the Minister how our students are receiving a world-class technical education that supports their aspirations and matches employer expectations.
“Our three programmes are already indicative of how our students are becoming industry aware and equipped with the skills to drive forward our local economies. They also stand us in good stead for the continuing T Level rollout across all areas of study for 16-19 year-olds over the next few years.
“We were also pleased to showcase some of the dynamic employer partnerships that T Level learners will benefit from over the course of their studies.”
T Levels involve students spending 80% of their time in the classroom and 20% on an industry placement of 315 hours, equivalent to 45 days. Students can then progress on to university level study or a higher-level apprenticeship.
Joined by Department for Education Permanent Secretary, Susan Acland-Hood, Gillian Keegan also met the college’s Construction T Level employer partners, Balfour Beatty VINCI (BBV) who are hosting industry placements linked to the delivery of High Speed Two.
Shilpi Akbar, Head of Skills, Employment and Education at Balfour Beatty VINCI, said: “With a plethora of large-scale infrastructure projects in the pipeline, fundamental to both local and national economies, it is an extremely exciting time to be joining the industry.
“The Construction T Level is yet another example of how Balfour Beatty VINCI is taking an active approach to encouraging new entrants and providing work experience placements for young people. It has been a pleasure to welcome Gillian Keegan MP, to meet with those who will directly benefit from our ongoing and innovative partnership with HS2 and Walsall College.”
Rebecca Young, HS2 Ltd’s Skills Strategy Manger said: “The construction of HS2 will show the world the very best of British skills, innovation and ambition. We are delighted to be supporting Walsall College by creating opportunities for their very first T Level construction students to play a part in delivering Britain’s brand-new high-speed railway.”